President Putin: Free Aleksei Navalny

Aleksei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption activist, unlawfully detained and imprisoned for two and a half years. He is ill-treated in detention including constant surveillance and psychological pressure. He must be freed immediately and unconditionally.

On 20 August 2020, Aleksei Navalny fell seriously ill during a flight to Moscow. Experts from several countries later concluded that he had been poisoned by a prohibited military grade nerve agent from Novichok family. On 22 August he was evacuated to Germany for treatment, unconscious and in a critical condition. Navalny returned to Russia on 17 January 2021 and was immediately taken into custody. Russian authorities accused him of failing to report to his probation officer while receiving life-saving treatment in Germany. 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”. The probation was established as a result of a previous conviction that the European Court of Human Rights found “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable”.

Aleksei Navalny was ill-treated while in detention. For months after his arrest, he was woken up every hour in the night during so-called checkups, effectively depriving him of proper sleep. It has been also reported that in the penal colony, he was constantly followed by inmates, apparently at the direction of the administration, who were observing him round the clock and reporting everything he did or said. Other inmates were prohibited from talking to Navalny.

Aleksei Navalny had significant health problems in detention. However, despite repeated requests, authorities were denying Aleksei Navalny visits by a medical doctor of his choice. He only started receiving proper medical treatment in May after an international campaign and a hunger strike.

Russian authorities continue their unlawful prosecution of Aleksei Navalny. He is now facing more politically motivated charges, including of founding an extremist organization and of fraud. It may result in extension of his prison sentence.

Sign the petition now and urge President Vladimir Putin to use his authority to end the harassment and persecution of Aleksei Navalny and all other government critics.