UN Human Rights calls for Investigation of Alexei Navalny case

Geneva, March 1 (AFP/APP): UN human rights experts called Monday for an international investigation into the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, as the EU agreed to sanction top Russian officials involved in his detention.

Agnes Callamard, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, and Irene Khan, the top expert on freedom of opinion and expression, stressed the importance of finding the truth about the “sinister poisoning” and ensuring accountability. They also demanded Navalny’s “immediate release” from a Russian penal colony, where he was transferred last week from a Moscow prison.

President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a penal colony for violating parole terms while in Germany recovering from a poisoning attack. The 44-year-old spent months recuperating from the near fatal poisoning with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok that he claims was ordered by Putin — a claim the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

EU member states approved sanctions on four senior Russian justice and law enforcement officials involved in his detention, who will be banned from travelling to the bloc and see any assets they hold there frozen.

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