The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureates called on the Red Cross to “interferein the fate of imprisoned Russian opponent Alexei Navalny, who reported harsh prison conditions for minor offences.
Navalny, 46, is serving a nine-year sentence that his supporters reject as politically motivated. He has denounced his regular placement in “cramped cells” and denial of family visits, calling his treatment an attempt to silence his continued activism behind bars.
More recently, Navalny’s supporters have sounded the alarm over his deteriorating health and the refusal of prison doctors to treat him.
Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov and his Filipino colleague Maria Ressa called on the International Committee of the Red Cross in an open letter to act on its mission to “prevent and alleviate human suffering”.
“As long as the torment [of Navalny] continue, we are all accomplices of the executioners,” they wrote in an open letter published on the website of Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper.
“We are convinced that independent humanitarian organizations should interfere in the fate of Alexei Navalny”, indicates the publication.
But a Red Cross representative told one of the letter’s co-authors that the aid organization “has no mandate for such actions”, according to Novaya Gazeta.
Muratov and Ressa won the Nobel Peace Prize in late 2021 for their “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression” in their respective countries, which have both seen crackdowns on independent media.