The Russian government is responsible for poisoning opposition politician Navalny. That is what two UN human rights rapporteurs state in a report. They call for an international investigation into the attempted murder of the Kremlincriticus.
According to Agnes Callamard, the UN rapporteur for extrajudicial executions, Navalnys poisoning fits into a pattern of attacks on critics at home and abroad, designed to deter other dissidents.
Navalny himself held Russian President Putin responsible for his poisoning. In collaboration with the journalistic collective Bellingcat, the politician elicited a confession to an agent of the Russian secret service FSB.
Last summer, the opposition politician suddenly became unwell on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. According to local doctors, this would have been the result of a metabolic disorder. Doctors in Germany, where Navalny was taken for treatment, found out that he was poisoned with the neural poison novichok.
With its use, Russia has violated the OPCW Convention on the Elimination of Chemical Weapons, the UN rapporteurs say. According to Callamard, those responsible could be punished under international law.
Navalny is serving a 2.5 year sentence in a penal colony because he did not comply with the obligation to report a previous conviction during his treatment in Germany.
The Kremlin denies having played a part in the elimination of Navalny. Besides, there would be no evidence of the poisoning.
According to spokesman Maria Zacharova of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany withholds information on Navalnys treatment. It calls on Berlin to open up cases. “We too want to find out the truth,” says Zacharova to press agency Reuters.
The UN rapporteurs expect that only an independent, international investigation will be able to determine the exact nature of Navalnys poisoning.