U.N. Human Rights Officials Call For Investigation of Navalny Poisoning
Two United Nations human rights officials pressed today for an international investigation into the August 2020 poisoning of Russian political dissident Alexei Navalny. Only state actors, they claim, could have carried out the attack.
Navalny fell into a coma while on a domestic flight in Russia last summer. He was medically evacuated to Germany, where a novel form of the nerve agent Novichok was found to be in his system. Novichok is a banned neurotoxin developed by the Soviet and then Russian governments.
Agnès Callamard, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, and Irene Khan, the special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, released a statement today calling for a “credible and transparent” investigation into Navalny’s poisoning. They expressly accused the Russian government of culpability.
“We believe that poisoning Mr. Navalny with Novichok might have been deliberately carried out to send a clear, sinister warning that this would be the fate of anyone who would criticise and oppose the government,” the statement says. “Novichok was precisely chosen to cause fear.”
The officials claim that the use of the nerve agent and the attackers’ expertise in handling the dangerous substance point to the Kremlin’s complicity.
“Mr. Navalny was under intensive government surveillance at the time of the attempted killing, making it unlikely that any third par
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