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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Experts: Russian Dissident Navalny's Life in 'Serious Danger'

By VOA News April 21, 2021

United Nations human rights experts said Wednesday that jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny's life is in "serious danger" and appealed to Moscow to allow Navalny to seek emergency medical treatment in another country.

"We urge the Russian authorities to ensure Mr. Navalny has access to his own doctors and to allow him to be evacuated for urgent medical treatment abroad, as they did in August 2020," the experts said in a statement.

The 44-year-old Kremlin critic has been detained since January in a high security prison under conditions that may amount to torture, said the experts, who also contend he has been "denied access to adequate medical care."

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to the U.N. experts.

Navalny began a hunger strike three weeks ago, about two months after his immediate January 17 arrest upon arrival in Moscow for alleged parole violations after returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning in Russia.

Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service said Navalny violated the probation terms of his suspended sentence from a 2014 money laundering conviction, which he denounced as politically motivated.

Navalny has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering Russia's security services to poison him, a charge the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

Several European laboratories have confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the former Soviet Union.

A Russian court ruled earlier this year that Navalny must remain in jail, rejecting an appeal. The United States and other Western countries have strongly condemned Navalny's arrest and demanded his unconditional release.

Navalny's jailing sparked very large protests across Russia shortly after his arrest, with tens of thousands of people demanding his release and chanting anti-Putin slogans.

Police arrested scores of Navalny supporters who protested Wednesday across Russia, according to OVD-info, a Russian human rights monitoring group.

The U.N. experts who issued the warning about Navalny's health are Special Rapporteurs Irene Khan, Nils Melzer, Morris Tidball-Binz and Tlaleng Mofokeng.

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