The human rights organization Amnesty International condemns the conditions of Alexey Navalny’s detention and once again demands the opposition politician’s immediate release, Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, told Meduza on Friday, March 26.
Earlier this week, Navalny, who is imprisoned in a penal colony in Pokrov, complained of being denied medical treatment and being woken eight times a night for checks. His lawyers were also unable to visit him for several days.
Krivosheev said that the sleep deprivation, as well as the denial of medical assistance, may amount to torture or other forms of ill-treatment. Refusing Navalny’s lawyers permission to meet with him is also a human rights violation, the Amnesty International representative added.
“We are once again demanding the immediate release of Alexey Navalny — he has been imprisoned for political reasons, and this is arbitrariness, for which the Russian authorities must answer.”
Alexey Navalny is in custody a Penal Colony No. 2 in the city of Pokrov in the Vladimir Region. On March 24, his lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, reported that Navalny’s health had deteriorated. Mikhailova said that Navalny has been experiencing back pain for a long time, and recently has started to experience numbness and pain in one of his legs.
On March 25, Navalny’s lawyers submitted two petitions to the head of the prison colony and the director of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) on his behalf. In these appeals, Navalny complained about the lack of medical assistance, as well as “torture by insomnia” (since he has been deemed a “flight risk,” prison staff wake him up for checks every hour during the night). The FSIN has stated that Navalny’s condition is “stable and satisfactory.”
In January 2021, Amnesty International recognized Alexey Navalny as a “prisoner of conscience.” The human rights organization rescinded this status in February, arguing that Navalny’s past statements about migrants from Central Asia and the North Caucasus constitute hate speech. Navalny’s associates maintained that Amnesty International’s actions were manipulated by the Russian authorities.