Amnesty International reinstates Navalny’s ‘prisoner of conscience’ status
Amnesty International has decided to re-designated jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny as a “prisoner of conscience.”
The human rights organization initially recognized Navalny as a “prisoner of conscience” when he was arrested upon returning to Russia in January 2021. It rescinded this status in February on the grounds that Navalny’s past statements about migrants from Central Asia and the North Caucasus constitute hate speech.
In a statement released on May 7, Amnesty International wrote that “the Russian government and its supporters used that internal decision, which we had not intended to make public, to further violate Navalny’s rights.” This prompted Amnesty to undertake a review of its overall approach to granting “prisoner of conscience” status.
As an interim step, past conduct will no longer exclude a person from receiving this designation, the statement said.
“By confirming Navalny’s status as Prisoner of Conscience, we are not endorsing his political programme, but are highlighting the urgent need for his rights, including access to independent medical care, to be recognised and acted upon by the Russian authorities.”