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President Putin: Free Aleksei Navalny

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 30: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends  a rally for 'free Internet' and in support of the Telegram Messenger in Akademika Sakharova Avenue in Moscow, Russia, on April 30, 2018. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Aleksei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption activist, unlawfully detained and imprisoned for two and a half years, is suffering from rapidly deteriorating health in prison. He must be freed immediately, and pending his release, examined and treated by qualified medical specialists that he trusts.

On 20 August 2020, Aleksei Navalny fell seriously ill during a flight to Moscow. Experts from several countries later concluded that he had been poisoned by a prohibited military grade nerve agent Novichok. On 22 August he was evacuated to Germany for treatment, unconscious and in a critical condition. Navalny returned to Russia on 17 January 2021 and was immediately taken into custody. Accused by the authorities of failing to report to his probation officer while receiving life-saving treatment in Germany, a court in Moscow ruled to imprison Aleksei Navalny for 2 years and 8 months (subsequently reduced by two months) for “violation of terms of a suspended sentence”.

Aleksei Navalny’s health has deteriorated significantly in prison. He suffers from debilitating pain in his back, and numbness in his legs and hands, he has been diagnosed by prison doctors with a double hernia in his spine and his condition appears to be worsening. His condition may be further complicated by after-effects of his poisoning. Aleksei Navalny began a hunger strike on 31 March in protest against the prison administration’s refusal to provide him adequate medical assistance. The Russian authorities are responsible for providing such medical care. However, despite repeated requests, they have been denying Aleksei Navalny visits by a medical doctor of his choice.

On top of his serious health problems, Navalny has also reported that he is being woken up by prison guards on an hourly basis throughout the night, night after night.

Russia has binding obligations to respect and protect the rights to life and health of prisoners and to protect them from torture and other ill-treatment.

Sign the petition now and urge President Vladimir Putin to use his authority to ensure Aleksei Navalny immediate access to a medical specialist he trusts, pending his release. Tell him to end the intimidation and persecution of Aleksei Navalny and all other government critics.

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