UN High Commissioner demands immediate release of Alexei Navalny
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UN High Commissioner demands immediate release of Alexei Navalny

Credit: Belga

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny should be released immediately, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights tweeted on Monday.

“We are deeply troubled by the arrest of Alexei Navalny,” the office said, calling for his release and “for his due process rights to be respected in line with the rule of law.”

“We reiterate our call for a thorough and impartial investigation into his poisoning,” the UN body added.

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Navalny accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his assassination with Novichok agent in August, which Russia denies. He was treated for his poisoning for five months in Germany.

Three European laboratories have since concluded that he had been poisoned with a Novichok-type military nerve agent, a conclusion confirmed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Navalny was arrested on arrival when we returned to Moscow on Sunday. The FSIN, the Russian penitentiary service, accusing him of having violated measures of judicial control by going abroad for treatment.

In September, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had demanded a “thorough, transparent, independent and impartial” investigation by the Russian authorities into the “very serious crime” committed against Navalny.

Bachelet noted that the type of nerve agents used to poison Navalny are sophisticated substances that are extremely difficult to obtain. “This raises many questions,” she said, “Why use substances like these? Who uses them? How did they get them?”

She said Russia had put forward many causes – illness, poor lifestyle, provocation by Western intelligence services – and refused to open a criminal investigation.

The Brussels Times