Politics World

Russia: Russian opposition leader Navalny dedicates human rights award to political prisoners

Jailed Russian opposition leader and the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin Alexei Navalny received a prestigious human rights award on Tuesday, with the Kremlin critic dedicating the prize to political prisoners in Russia and Belarus. It was Navalny’s daughter who accepted the award on his behalf.

The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – an annual conference sponsored by 25 human rights NGOs around the world, gave the Moral Courage Award to Navalny, as DW reports.

Accepting the award on Navalny’s behalf Daria Navalnya said in a virtual speech from the United States that her dad asked to give that award to every single political prisoner in Russia and Belarus.

“He wrote that most of them are in a much worse situation compared to me, because they’re not well known or famous,” Navalnya said, citing a letter she received from her father. “They should know that they are not alone or forgotten about.”

She described herself “as a proud daughter and as a Russian citizen, concerned about the fast downfall of democracy in my country.”

Why is Navalny in prison?

Navalny has been imprisoned in a penal colony near Moscow since February. The Kremlin critic was sentenced to over three years in prison by a Moscow court that same month for violating the terms of his probation linked to a 2014 ruling.

Since Navalny already served a year in house arrest in 2014, he will only be required to spend two years and eight months in prison. Doctors have expressed concerns about his health while in prison, with Navalny also temporarily going on hunger strike at one point to demand better medical care.

Navalny considers the ruling and court proceedings politically motivated.

Navalny was arrested by authorities in January at an airport in Moscow upon his arrival from Germany. He was receiving treatment from a hospital in Berlin after he was poisoned by nerve agent Novichok in August.

Navalny claims the poisoning was orchestrated by the Russian FSB security service. The Kremlin denies the allegations.

Navalny’s arrest and prison sentence have provoked solidarity demonstrations across Russia, and condemnation from the US and EU.

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