Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

Russia: international community must pursue those responsible for Navalny's death

Aleksei Navalny was being held in a harsh penal colony 40 miles north of the Arctic Circle © Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

‘His death is a devastating and dire indictment of life under the oppressive and stifling rule of the Kremlin’ - Agnès Callamard

Responding to reports of the death in custody of the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said: 

“Aleksei was a prisoner of conscience only for speaking out against a repressive government.

“Aleksei Navalny was denied health care, was kept for prolonged periods of time in solitary confinement and was forcibly disappeared when he was sent to one of the most remote penal colonies, near the Arctic Circle. 

“His death is a devastating and dire indictment of life under the oppressive and stifling rule of the Kremlin. 

“He paid the ultimate price for being a critical voice, and championing freedom of expression. 

“Amnesty International stands with all those fighting for human rights in and beyond Russia’s borders.

“As the search for justice begins, it is clear there are few avenues at our disposal. That’s why it is crucial that the international community take concrete actions to hold all those responsible to account. 

“We must urgently call upon the United Nations to employ its special procedures and mechanisms to address the death of Aleksei Navalny.”

‘Became ill in prison yard’

Earlier today, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service reported that Navalny became ill after walking in the prison yard of his penal colony and lost consciousness shortly thereafter. Despite attention from medical workers at the colony and the arrival of an ambulance crew, resuscitation efforts allegedly failed and Navalny was pronounced dead. The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service’s statement concluded with an announcement that the causes of death are being established. In line with the UN Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death, all states have an obligation to conduct prompt, impartial and effective investigations into the circumstances and causes of deaths in custody. Among other key aspects, the authorities must guarantee an independent autopsy by impartial forensic experts and be fully transparent, allowing scrutiny by international observers and Navalny’s family.

View latest press releases