- Share to or
‘We’re forced to appeal to you’ Following doctors’ lead, Russian lawyers publish an open letter to Putin demanding proper medical care for Alexey Navalny
On New Year’s Eve, jailed Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny was transferred to a “punishment cell,” marking the 10th time prison authorities had used the measure against him since he was sent to his current prison this summer. On January 9, Navalny’s lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, reported that Navalny was suffering from a fever and a cough, and that he was not being given the medical care he needs. The following day, a group of Russian doctors published an open letter to Vladimir Putin, demanding he bring an end to Navalny’s “torment”; the letter ultimately received more than 600 signatures. Now, a group of lawyers have followed suit, publishing a letter to the president in which they demand that prison authorities stop using the “punishment cell” against Navalny and that civilian doctors be allowed to treat him. Meduza is publishing an English translation of their appeal.
The bar is a professional community of lawyers and, as an institution of civil society, is not part of the system of state authorities or local government bodies.
We are lawyers, members of civil society, and citizens of the Russian Federation. It is our direct duty to honestly, reasonably, and conscientiously defend citizens’ rights and legal interests by all means not prohibited by legislation of the Russian Federation.
Today, we cannot and do not have the right to stand idly by as our colleague Alexey Navalny, who was disbarred in connection with his criminal prosecution amid his active political activities in Russia, has his constitutional rights violated and his human dignity disparaged. The conditions of his detention in the Federal Penitentiary Service’s Correctional Colony No. 6 in the Vladimir region may harm his health and pose a threat to his life, which has prompted doctors to write an open letter.
In accordance with Article 18 of the Russian Constitution, the rights and freedoms of individuals and citizens in the Russian Federation are self-executing and guarantee that nobody’s right to life or health will be violated. Human dignity is protected by the state. Nobody should be subjected to torture, violence, or any other cruel or degrading treatment or punishment.
The conditions of Alexey Navalny’s detention in the correctional colony are known to all of us from open sources. Continuous detention in an isolation cell for an inordinately long period is a blatant example of torture and causes serious damage to his health, posing a direct threat to his life. The pretexts for placing him in the isolation cell are not just fabricated but are also flagrantly demonstrative, intended not to reform the prisoner but to abuse him.
Alexey Navalny’s appearance testifies to the fact that he’s being held in inhumane conditions, as we know his medical history after being poisoned by chemical warfare agents, which can cause nothing but concern for his life and health.
Federal Penitentiary Service officials’ refusal to provide Navalny with the medicine he needs poses a direct threat to [his life]. As his lawyers’ statements and doctors’ demands indicate, Alexey Navalny is not receiving sufficient medical care, and given the state he’s in, detention in an isolation cell is inadvisable.
From a legal perspective, society is witnessing defiant behavior on the part of the state towards a citizen of the Russian Federation that has all the signs of the use of torture against him, which is prohibited in all of the world’s civilized countries.
Since all of the power in the Russian Federation is concentrated in your hands, we are forced to appeal to you.
We, the lawyers who have signed this letter, join Russian doctors in demanding that the abuse of Alexey Navalny be brought to an end.
We demand that Alexey Navalny stop being placed in an isolation cell and that civilian doctors be allowed to see him. We demand that he immediately be hospitalized in a civilian hospital for a full examination and treatment if there are indications that it is necessary.
We demand that Alexey Navalny be granted his right to full-fledged medical care and that the provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation be fulfilled.
We, professional defenders of citizens’ legal rights and interests, demand an end to the information blockade regarding the conditions in which Alexey Navalny is being held in prison, and we demand a public and transparent investigation into the legality of the actions related to the threat against Alexey Navalny’s right to life and the loss of his right to personal dignity. We demand that the persons responsible for what has happened to him be named.
So far, more than 50 Russian lawyers have signed this open letter to Vladimir Putin, which was published on Facebook by St. Petersburg lawyer Viktor Drozdov.
- Share to or