Sun, 16 May 2021

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is calling on Russia to release opposition leader Aleksei Navalny from prison and ensure in the meantime that all his rights are respected, including 'all necessary medical care.'

The lawmakers made the call in a resolution on April 22, a day after Russian police detained more than 1,700 people across the country during protests demanding Navalny's release amid reports his health is failing as he enters the third week of a hunger strike.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's most-vocal critic should be released 'immediately and in any event before the next 'human rights' meeting of the Committee of Ministers in June 2021,' according to the resolution, which was backed by 105 parliamentarians during a session of the assembly in Strasbourg.

Pending his release, the document calls on the authorities to provide Navalny with 'all necessary medical care, including examination and treatment by a doctor of his choice, and to ensure that his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and domestic law are fully respected.'

At total of 26 lawmakers from Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia voted against the resolution. Those who abstained included representatives from Turkey, Serbia, and one from the Czech Republic.

Navalny, 44, has been in custody since January. He went on a hunger strike to demand doctors treat him for severe pain in his back and legs.

Thousands of Russians from Vladivostok in the Far East to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea joined the April 21 protests called by leaders of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), who fear the Kremlin critic be harmed 'irreparably' if he doesn't get adequate medical treatment.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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