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World UN rights experts urge international probe of Navalny poisoning

19:13  01 march  2021
19:13  01 march  2021 Source:   aljazeera.com

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United Nations human rights experts have called for an international investigation into the poisoning of prominent Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny and demanded his “immediate release” from a Russian penal colony.

Alexei Navalny standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Navalny fell ill in Siberia last August and was flown to Germany, which says it found evidence he had been poisoned by a banned nerve agent [Press Service of Moscow City Court/Reuters] © Navalny fell ill in Siberia last August and was flown to Germany, which says it found evidence he ha... Navalny fell ill in Siberia last August and was flown to Germany, which says it found evidence he had been poisoned by a banned nerve agent [Press Service of Moscow City Court/Reuters]

Agnes Callamard, the UN’s top expert on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, and Irene Khan, the expert on freedom of opinion and expression, made the call in a joint statement on Monday.

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  Has Alexey Navalny moved on from his nationalist past? The Kremlin critic stopped attending far-right rallies many years ago, but he still supports anti-migrant measures. “I see no contradiction in promoting trade unions while at the same time demanding a visa requirement for migrants from Central Asia,” he told Der Spiegel in October.

They said Navalny’s poisoning last year was part of a trend of unlawful killings and attempted killings of critics at home and abroad, meant to send a “sinister warning” to quash dissent. They added that the evidence thus far pointed to the “very likely involvement” of Russian government officials.

Navalny, 44, fell ill in Siberia in August and was flown to Germany, which says it found evidence he had been poisoned with Novichok, a banned nerve agent. Russia denies any role in his illness and says it has not seen proof that he was poisoned.

After recuperating for five months in Germany, Navalny returned to Russia in January. He was immediately arrested on arrival at Moscow airport and later sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for parole violations by leaving the country to receive medical treatment.

Russia: Navalny transferred from his prison to an unknown location

 Russia: Navalny transferred from his prison to an unknown location © Provided by Le Parisien Le Parisien Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny was transferred Thursday from his Moscow prison, where he had been imprisoned since his arrest on his return in Russia in mid-January, to an unknown destination, his team announced. "They did not tell anyone where he was transferred," one of his lawyers, Olga Mikhailova, told AFP, suggesting that he could have gone to the penal colony where he will serve a two-and-a-half-year sentence incarceration.

Navalny has rejected the case against him as fabricated.

‘International investigation’

The experts recalled that toxicology tests conducted in Germany, France, Sweden and by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found that Navalny was poisoned with a “novel form of the Novichok nerve agent” of the type that was developed initially by the erstwhile Soviet Union and then by Russia.

They said the substance could “only be found within and amongst State actors”, which violates Russia’s commitment under the Chemical Weapon’s Convention.

“Given the inadequate response of the domestic authorities, the use of prohibited chemical weapons, and the apparent pattern of attempted targeted killings, we believe that an international investigation should be carried out as a matter of urgency in order to establish the facts and clarify all the circumstances concerning Mr Navalny’s poisoning,” they said.

Russia. Lawyer close to Navalny whom the Kremlin will not silence

 Russia. Lawyer close to Navalny whom the Kremlin will not silence © Dimitar DILKOFF, AFP Lyubov Sobol was named one of the most influential women of 2019 by the BBC. Lyubov Sobol was under house arrest on Thursday, February 25, until March 23. Alexei Navalny’s relative is accused of violating health regulations during a rally in Moscow at the end of January. He is one of the figures of the Russian opposition . Lyubov Sobol has been a lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Foundation Alexei Navalny for ten years.

Callamard and Khan also released the text of a December 30 letter to Russian authorities, notifying Moscow they were looking into the poisoning.

The letter said if allegations were confirmed, Russian officials may be subject to criminal liability “both for participating in or ordering attempted murder or for failing to ensure that subordinates do not engage in these actions”.

Navalny had been held in a maximum security prison in Moscow, but last week was transferred elsewhere, according to the RIA Novosti news agency. The report, citing the head of the Federal Penitentiary Service, did not specify where he was moved to.

His arrest drove a wave of protests, drawing tens of thousands to the streets across Russia.

Authorities have detained about 11,000 people, many of whom were fined or given jail terms ranging from seven to 15 days.

His detention has also raised political tensions between Moscow and Western nations, which are preparing additional sanctions against Russian officials.

Navalny affair: From his cell, the Russian opponent gives reassuring news .
In a message posted on Instagram, Alexei Navalny declares: "All is well for me". His lawyer also confirms that he "is doing well" © Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP / SIPA Alexeï Navalny during his trial in Moscow on February 20, 2021. MESSAGE - In a message posted on Instagram, Alexeï Navalny declares: " everything's going well for me ". His lawyer also confirms that he is "doing well" Alexeï Navalny gives his news with rather reassuring words.

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This is interesting!