UN special rapporteurs call Navalny’s poisoning “ominous warning” to Kremlin critics
UN Special Rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Irene Khan, who are involved in the case of the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, made a special statement.
They, in particular, stressed the need for an international investigation of the incident, identification of the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
“We believe that the poisoning of Mr. Navalny with Novichok could have been deliberately carried out in order to send a clear, ominous warning that such a fate awaits anyone who criticizes and opposes the government. The “newcomer” was specially chosen to cause fear, ”the special rapporteurs emphasized.
The special rapporteurs also released the text of a letter sent to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the end of December 2020. In the letter, they list in detail what is known about the circumstances of Navalny’s poisoning, indicating that, as confirmed by OPCW- accredited laboratories, the politician was poisoned with a substance from the Novichok group.
“It is believed that it is extremely unlikely that such a substance could be created by a non-state actor, and that only the Russian state develops and, apparently, stores and uses Novichok,” the letter says.
Navalny was reportedly under surveillance by the special services, which “makes it extremely unlikely that third parties could have done anything without the knowledge of the state authorities,” the special rapporteurs say.
“It is also alleged that many other people engaged in political activities in opposition to the Russian authorities both in Russia and abroad, or in exile, were killed or became victims of an attempted murder,” the letter to Lavrov said. It is about an alleged series of “numerous incidents with a similar course of action that have occurred over decades,” the special rapporteurs write, suggesting that it could be a question of “extrajudicial executions.”
The special rapporteurs ask the Russian side “to provide any additional information and (or) comments regarding the above statements”, as well as to answer whether the Russian authorities are ready to give Navalny’s medical card from the hospital in Omsk, where he was taken after the poisoning and the clothes in which he was in that moment.
In addition, the special rapporteurs request information about the surveillance of Navalny and ask him to indicate how the circumstances of the politician’s poisoning are being investigated in Russia.
Kallamar and Khan also wondered what guarantees the Russian authorities could provide to protect Navalny’s right to freedom of expression and what measures will be taken to ensure that the policy “is no longer in danger when he decides to return to the Russian Federation.”
The reply to the letter from the Russian side, as of March 1, has not been received.