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Press releases Special Procedures

Russia: UN experts laud courage of Alexei Navalny, call for immediate release

18 January 2021


GENEVA (18 January 2021) – Two UN human rights experts today saluted the bravery of anti-corruption activist Mr. Alexei Navalny, and decried his arrest on arrival in Moscow.

Agnès Callamard, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and Irene Khan, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, called on the Russian Federation to immediately release Mr. Navalny and to ensure that his life and well-being are protected.

It is believed that Mr. Navalny’s arrest was related to alleged violations of a suspended sentence for a fraud conviction following proceedings that the European Court of Human Rights said in 2018 were arbitrary and unfair. The Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia said in a statement that Mr. Navalny missed regular check-ins, required for his suspended sentence, without a valid reason.

“It is appalling that Mr. Navalny was arrested for breaching parole terms, for a sentence he should not have received in the first place and despite the authorities being fully aware that he had been several months in Germany recovering from an attempt on his life,” the experts said.

Mr. Navalny returned to Russia, despite having been the victim of an attempted killing and knowing he could be arrested. When his plane landed, he said that his return to Russia was the happiest moment in his life over the past five months.

“We salute his courage and will continue to follow his case closely,” the experts said.

“Journalists, activists and supporters, who were arrested at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, simply for doing their job and peacefully exercising their rights to expression and peaceful assembly must also be immediately released,” they added.

The UN experts have previously raised their concerns with the Government and will continue to seek to engage in dialogue on these issues and monitor the situation.


* The experts: Ms. Agnès CallamardSpecial Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Ms. Irene Khan Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, Country Page – Russian Federation

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