Amnesty re-designates Navalny as prisoner of conscience | Human rights news

Amnesty stripped Navalny of his designation in February, arguing that his past comments qualified as pleading for hatred.

Amnesty International apologized to jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny for depriving him of his “prisoner of conscience” status and said it would reinstate his designation.

Amnesty announced on February 24 that it would stop referring to Navalny as a prisoner of conscience on the grounds that in the past he had made comments qualified as a prisoner of conscience. hate plea.

“After careful evaluation, Amnesty International has decided to rename Alexei Navalny as a ‘prisoner of conscience’,” the rights group said on Friday in a statement posted on its website.

“Amnesty International made a bad decision, which called into question our intentions and motivations at a critical time, and apologizes for the negative effects this had on Alexei Navalny personally,” the statement read.

The 44-year-old Russian opposition politician was arrested in January and sentenced to prison for parole violations he described as trumped up.

Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s chief of staff, said on Twitter that “the ability to recognize mistakes and move on is the most important thing that sets normal people apart from Putin.”

Navalny has been criticized for the past nationalist statements against illegal immigration and for attending an annual nationalist march several years ago.

Amnesty said it had revised its process for naming people as prisoners of conscience and would no longer withdraw the designation based solely on their past conduct.

“Some of Navalny’s previous statements are reprehensible and we do not agree with them at all. As a human rights organization, Amnesty International will continue to fight racism and all forms of discrimination wherever they exist, ”the group said.

The human rights group said that by redefining Navalny’s status as a prisoner of conscience, he “did not endorse his political agenda, but stressed the urgent need for his rights.”

‘Height of hypocrisy’

In February, the Kremlin insisted that Navalny had lost support for the group, which led to criticism of Amnesty from other human rights bodies.

Amnesty said the decision to strip Navalny of his status should never be made public and that the Russian government had used the decision “to further violate Navalny’s rights”.

“It was the height of hypocrisy, coming from a government that not only attempted to kill Navalny by poisoning, but committed unacceptable acts over the past two decades, including torture, enforced disappearances and widespread repression of political freedoms in Russia and abroad, as well as war crimes in Syria. “

Navalny was arrested in January on his return from Germany to Russia, where he spent five months recovering from poisoning with a nerve agent he attributes to the Kremlin – a charge officials have consistently dismissed as bogus.

Navalny says he was denied adequate medical treatment for severe back pain and limb numbness in prison.

Last month he completed a day of 24 hunger-strike after being examined in a civilian hospital.

He also complained of “torture” by sleep deprivation, claiming that he was woken up every hour during the night because he was considered a flight risk by the authorities.

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