Russian dissident Navalny honoured by Geneva NGOs

Alexei Navalny stands inside a glass cage prior to a hearing in a Moscow court in February Keystone / Yuri Kochetkov

Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been honoured by 25 NGOs in Geneva for his courage. He is currently imprisoned in Russia and has been on a hunger strike for three weeks.

This content was published on April 19, 2021 - 17:16

Navalny, a prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was chosen for his “extraordinary courage and heroic efforts to alert people to the serious human rights violations by Putin’s regime in Russia”, UN Watch director Hillel Neuer said in a statement on Monday.

Leonid Volkov, the opposition’s chief strategist, welcomed the news. “It is very important that Alexei Navalny’s moral courage be recognised internationally as he goes through one of the most difficult tests of his life,” he said. Volkov said Navalny had been put in prison for “daring to survive a poison attack that almost killed him”.

The award will be received on Navalny’s behalf by his daughter, Daria Navalnaya, at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy on June 8. The summit will host dissidents, activists, victims and former political prisoners from China, Cuba, Iran, Turkey, Belarus and Zimbabwe. They will testify about the human rights situation in their countries.

Hunger strike

Navalny, who the West says has been wrongly jailed and should be freed, returned to Russia in January after recovering from what German doctors say was a nerve agent poisoning.

In February he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison by a Moscow court for charges of parole violations that he called politically motivated. Russia has said it has yet to see evidence he was poisoned.

He stopped eating on March 31 to protest against the conditions of his detention in Russia. He accuses the prison administration of denying him access to a doctor even though he has a double herniated disc, according to his lawyers.

Staff at the Russian prison say they have offered Navalny proper treatment but that he refused it.

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