British writer J.K. Rowling.
Moscow – In an open letter, a number of writers, actors and other personalities called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny from prison. The letter was signed by, among others, writers Salman Rushdie and J.K. Rowling or actor Benedict Cumberbatch. His text was published by the Meduza portal.
Navalny from prison” />
Navalny from prison” />
“Navalny is serving a prison sentence based on charges that no fair and independent court would ever accept. We support the call of the German government, the American authorities or the European Union to demand his immediate release. It is within your power,” the authors of the letter told Putin. Among the signatories are, among others, winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature Svetlana Alexijevičová, Olga Tokarczuková, Orhan Pamuk or the actor Jude Law.
Navalny is now to spend 11.5 years behind bars. He found himself in prison after the Russian judiciary found him guilty of fraud and contempt of court. Navalny, along with other critics of the regime in Moscow, claim that the Russian authorities fabricated the cases against him to silence him as a prominent opposition figure, and world leaders have repeatedly called on Moscow to release him.
The authors of the letter published today also pointed to the harshness of the prison conditions in which Navalny is kept. An opposition representative is regularly punished by solitary confinement. “Again and again they send him to solitary confinement, in a concrete cube the size of a doghouse, which has no ventilation. They deny him visits from relatives and phone calls, they do not allow lawyers to visit him. Despite a high fever, he has to spend the whole day standing,” they wrote in the letter.
Navalny said this week that he faces another trial in Russia on terrorism charges and that he faces 30 years in one case and life in the other. His associates have recently pointed out that his health has taken a sharp turn for the worse, and there has been speculation that he is receiving small doses of poison in prison. Navalny has already been treated for the effects of Novichok poisoning in 2020. He claims that he was poisoned directly on Putin's orders. The Kremlin rejects the accusations and denies that any poisoning took place at all.