UN Chief Calls for Investigation Into Reported Death of Navalny

new york — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed shock Friday on the reported death of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny and called for a credible investigation into his death.  

“The secretary-general expresses his condolences to Mr. Navalny’s family and calls for a full, credible and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Navalny’s reported death in custody,” U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters.  

Navalny, 47, died Friday in the high-security Arctic penal colony where he was serving a 19-year sentence for extremism, Russia’s prison agency said. Navalny’s family was working Friday to confirm the veracity of the report.    

He was a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, an anti-corruption campaigner, and had run for public office. His death comes less than a month before elections that are likely to give Putin another six years in power.  

The U.N. human rights office said it is “appalled” at the reports of Navalny’s death and called on Moscow to end the persecution of politicians, human rights defenders, journalists and others sentenced to jail for the legitimate exercise of their rights.    

“Last August, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk highlighted that the latest 19-year sentence raised questions about judicial harassment and instrumentalization of the court system for political purposes in Russia and called for Navalny’s release,” spokesperson Liz Throssell said in a statement.  

She said that if a person dies in state custody, “the presumption is that the state is responsible.” Throssell echoed the U.N. chief and urged “an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body.” 

Alice Edwards, who is the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, said on the social media platform X that she was devastated by the news. Edwards said she and several other special rapporteurs had tried to intervene on Navalny’s behalf with the Kremlin. 

She also demanded a full investigation and an independent autopsy to determine the cause of his death.  

leave a reply: