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Navalny in ‘serious danger’, needs urgent medical evacuation — UN experts

FILE: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures during a hearing on his charges for defamation in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 16, 2021. (Babuskinsky District Court Press Service via AP)
FILE: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures during a hearing on his charges for defamation in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 16, 2021. (Babuskinsky District Court Press Service via AP)

A group of UN rights experts express alarm at the deteriorating health of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and called for his urgent medical evacuation from Russia.

“We believe Mr. Navalny’s life is in serious danger,” warn the four independent experts on the issues of freedom of expression, torture, extrajudicial executions and the right to physical and mental health.

They called on Russian authorities to allow Navalny “to be evacuated for urgent medical treatment abroad,” stressing that “the Russian government is accountable for Mr. Navalny’s life and health while he is in detention.”

Navalny, who is on hunger strike in a Russian penal colony, has been incarcerated under harsh conditions without adequate medical care and has been barred from seeing doctors of his own choosing, they say.

“We are deeply troubled that Mr. Navalny is being kept in conditions that could amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” say the experts, who are appointed by the UN but do not speak on behalf of the world body.

Their comments came as protests gathered for a series of nationwide demonstrations in support of Navalny, with police moving quickly to make arrests, including of key aides of the jailed opposition figure.

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