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FI 006/21-2
Abgeschlossen am 3. Juni 2021

Aleksei Navalny’s health and life in danger

AI-Index: EUR 46/3955/2021

Prominent Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny was arbitrarily arrested on 17 January 2021 after recovering from being poisoned. He was subsequently sentenced to two and a half years in prison for «violating the terms of a suspended sentence». In prison, he is being ill-treated and denied adequate medical assistance despite serious deterioration of his health. In protest, he continues a hunger strike that began on 31 March. Aleksei Navalny’s detention is unlawful and politically motivated. He must be immediately released.


Aleksei Navalny is a Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist. He is one of the most prominent critics of the Russian authorities and the founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (known as FBK in Russian), which has conducted investigations into corruption among Russia’s senior officials and prominent politicians and businesspeople. Aleksei Navalny, as well as many FBK employees and associates, have faced reprisals for their work including fabricated criminal and administrative charges, police raids and house searches, physical violence and selective army conscription.

In 2014, Aleksei Navalny was found guilty under politically motivated charges of fraud and sentenced to three and a half years on probation. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) later ruled that the conviction was «arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable» (Navalnyye v. Russia, no. 101/15, §83, 5 March 2018) and that by keeping Aleksei Navalny under house arrest for 10 months prior to the sentencing, Russian authorities pursued an «ulterior purpose», namely «to suppress political pluralism» (Navalnyy v. Russia (No. 2), §98, no. 43734/14). The Russian Supreme Court ordered a retrial, which failed to address human rights violations pinpointed by the ECtHR and confirmed the initial sentence.

On 20 August 2020, Aleksei Navalny fell seriously ill during a flight from Tomsk (Siberia) to Moscow. On 22 August 2020, on his family’s insistence and after a vigorous domestic and international campaign, Aleksei Navalny was transferred for treatment to Berlin, Germany, in a coma. President Putin subsequently claimed that he had personally intervened to authorise his transfer. Aleksei Navalny gradually recovered in Germany and was discharged from the hospital to continue his rehabilitation. Experts with multiple governments, international organisations, and UN Special Rapporteurs (including then-SR on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions Agnès Callamard) concluded that Aleksei Navalny had been poisoned with military-grade nerve agent Novichok and pointed to the responsibility of the Russian authorities for the poisoning.

On 17 January 2021, Aleksei Navalny returned to Moscow where he was arrested at the border control for allegedly violating the terms of the suspended sentence by not reporting to the penitentiary authorities. Massive, overwhelmingly peaceful protests against his arrest took place across Russia in January and February of this year where more than 11,000 people were arrested, often with excessive force. More than 1,000 peaceful protesters were put under «administrative arrest» following unfair trials and held in inhuman conditions. A number of Aleksei Navalny’s associates and high-profile supporters, as well as many other demonstrators, are also facing criminal charges related to the protests.

On 2 February 2021, a court in Moscow ruled to imprison Aleksei Navalny for 2 years and 8 months (subsequently reduced by two months) for «violation of terms of a suspended sentence». He was sent to a penal colony IK-2 in Vladimir Oblast, about 100 km east from Moscow, where he remains held.

Social media guidance

Tag the official account of the Kremlin on Twitter

Twitter hashtag:

Sample tweets:

  • Attacked, poisoned, unlawfully imprisoned and now being ill-treated; Russian activist Aleksei #Navalny is punished just because of his peaceful activism against corruption. He must be immediately released. #FreeNavalny [Link to UA]
  • I urge President Putin @KremlinRussia_E with my letter to grant Aleksei #Navalny’s immediate release and in the meantime ensure he has access to adequate medical treatment. I call others do the same! #FreeNavalny [Link to UA]
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