This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
A group of Russian lawyers has demanded an end to the “blatant torture” of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who is being held in punitive solitary confinement in a prison in Russia’s Vladimir region.
The appeal, published in the form of a letter on Telegram on January 16, joins recent calls by a group of Russian medical professionals for the government to stop “bullying” Navalny, who is a lawyer himself.
The letter was signed by 14 lawyers and, in an accompanying Facebook post signed by St. Petersburg lawyer Victor Drozdov, called for other legal professionals to join their efforts.
“Today we cannot and do not have the right to calmly look at the violations of constitutional rights and the derogation of the human dignity of our colleague, deprived of the status of a lawyer in connection with his criminal prosecution against the background of his active political activity in Russia,” the appeal said.
“The refusal of representatives of the Federal Penitentiary Service to transfer the necessary medicines to the opposition critic creates a direct threat to his life,” it added.
Navalny and his lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, have said for several days that the Kremlin critic has a heavy cough and fever. Kobzev on January 10 said prison guards had refused to pass on medicine to his client.
That same day, a group of Russian physicians urged Putin “to stop torturing Navalny” in prison and allow doctors from medical institutions outside the prison to examine him and transfer him to a regular hospital for treatment if need be.
The outspoken Putin critic is serving two sentences for violating parole and embezzlement at a prison in Vladimir, about 260 kilometers east of Moscow.