U.N. Human Rights Officials Call For Investigation of Navalny Poisoning

They claim that only state actors could have carried out the assault on the Russian dissident.


Two United Nations human rights officials pressed today for an international investigation into the August 2020 poisoning of Russian political dissident Alexei Navalny. Only state actors, they claim, could have carried out the attack.

Navalny fell into a coma while on a domestic flight in Russia last summer. He was medically evacuated to Germany, where a novel form of the nerve agent Novichok was found to be in his system. Novichok is a banned neurotoxin developed by the Soviet and then Russian governments.

Agnès Callamard, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, and Irene Khan, the special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, released a statement today calling for a "credible and transparent" investigation into Navalny's poisoning. They expressly accused the Russian government of culpability.

"We believe that poisoning Mr. Navalny with Novichok might have been deliberately carried out to send a clear, sinister warning that this would be the fate of anyone who would criticise and oppose the government," the statement says. "Novichok was precisely chosen to cause fear."

The officials claim that the use of the nerve agent and the attackers' expertise in handling the dangerous substance point to the Kremlin's complicity.

"Mr. Navalny was under intensive government surveillance at the time of the attempted killing, making it unlikely that any third party could have administered such a banned chemical without the knowledge of the Russian authorities," they wrote in a December letter to the Russian government.

After spending several months recovering in Germany, Navalny was arrested upon his return to Russia for violating the terms of his parole for a 2014 fraud conviction. The arrest sparked weeks of protests throughout the country.

Despite Navalny's argument that he had been taken to Germany while comatose, left the country as soon as he was medically able, and informed prison officials of his whereabouts, a judge still sentenced him to more than two and a half years in a penal colony.

Last week, Amnesty International revoked Navalny's status as a prisoner of conscience because of past comments the organization claimed "amounted to advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, violence or hostility." (Navalny has used a derogatory term for ethnic Georgians, and he called for their expulsion from the country during Russia's war with Georgia in 2008. Navalny has since apologized for the epithet but has stood by several nationalist positions he has taken.) Amnesty International's definition of "prisoner of conscience" excludes those who have "advocated violence or hatred," and it has concluded that Navalny no longer makes the cut.

Nonetheless, the group continues to support Navalny's release. "There should be no confusion: nothing Navalny has said in the past justifies his current detention, which is purely politically motivated," the organization declared in an official statement. "Navalny has been arbitrarily detained for exercising his right to freedom of expression, and for this reason we continue to campaign for his immediate release."

NEXT: Democrats Demand Bureaucrats Regulate Bureaus More Heavily

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. LOL.

    This article should offer some background as to why it matters whether the UN conducts a hearing into what is already “known.”

    The Amnesty International navel gazing is next level.

    1. Google pays for every Person every hour online working from home job. I have received $23K in this month easily and I earns every weeks $5K to 8$K on the internet. dpo Every Person join this and working easily by open just open this website and follow instructions
      COPY This Website OPEN HERE….. READ MORE

      1. Change Your Life Right Now! Work From Comfort Of Your Home And Receive Your First Paycheck Within A Week. No Experience Needed, No Boss Over Your Shoulder. Say Goodbye To Your Old Job!

        Limited Number Of Spots Open…..>>> GOOGLE CASH 1

      2. [ PART TIME JOB FOR USA ] Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are TIGmuch better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
        on this page…..READ MORE

  2. I imagine the consequences of any UN investigation will show why the Russians have no need to be subtle.

    1. There should be an investigation as to why the DOJ is prosecuting an American citizen for posting memes.

      Any thoughts, Reason?

  3. Ken Shultz, if I criticize Russia for their mistreatment of Navalny is that using “cancel culture” against Russia?

    1. Idiot.

    2. Cancel culture is more like:

      Denying someone you disagree with a platform upon which to disagree with you. And / or the ability to survive on their own or make a living doing what they normally do.

      It’s the opposite of criticizing Russia – it’s in fact much more akin to what Russia is doing to Navalny.

      1. Yes, tell Ken Shultz that.

        1. I don’t have to. He knows what cancel culture is.

          1. Got it. You are either 180 degrees off on understanding who attempted a ridiculous expansion of the meaning of “cancel culture” (hint: it was Ken), or you won’t criticize Ken because he is on the pro-Trump team.

            1. Google pays for every Person every hour online working from home job. I have received $23K in this month easily and I earns every weeks $5K to 8$K on the internet. dpo Every Person join this and working easily by open just open this website and follow instructions
              COPY This Website OPEN HERE….. READ MORE

  4. The UN Human Rights council? You mean the one with such notable members such as Libya and Sudan. *falls on the ground holding sides*

    1. Did Venezuela get kicked out of that council recently? I thought they were in as well.

    2. These are a couple of Special Rapporteurs.

      I think a Special Rapporteur for human rights is an earnest person who announces the obvious. It’s morally a step up from the Human Rights Council, which is a bunch of human-rights violators finding fault with other governments (especially Israel and the US).

  5. Sonny has a bright future in journalism.

  6. Putin wants the world to know that he’s the one behind the poisoning, much like he wanted the world to know that he was behind the 2006 polonium assassination of Litvinenko. Putin may even want to be condemned by the world community.

    Putin doesn’t care about the opinions of anyone outside of Russia, and to the extent that being condemned by the governments of other nations and international bodies, that’s what he wants if it makes him look like strong man in Russia.

    Not everyone in the world wants to be led by a really nice guy. Condemn him all you want. If the Russian people still want him, that’s their business. If the elitist states of the world try to unite to cancel him through condemnation, that’s not likely to achieve anything.

    If we’re looking to set an example for the world, I can’t help but wonder if the best example we could set was of a country that minds its own business. Whatever was in the best interests of the United States before, remains so–regardless of whether Putin tries to assassinate his political enemies.

    1. Are you, Ken, looking to set an example for the world by being a country that minds our own business? Or are you looking for our country to be one that gets involved in foreign affairs, for example by selling arms to Saudi Arabia?

      1. Doing what’s in our own best interests regardless of whether the Crown Prince murdered a journalist and minding our own business in regards to Putin murdering his political opponents are contradictory positions–in what way?

        1. Putin murdering his political opponents


        2. Can you define what a nation-state “minding it’s own business” means to you? You seem to be saying that “minding it’s own business” includes any foreign involvement it feels like taking part in.

          1. Give it up . You are out of your league.

            1. Poor Dee doesn’t even understand what’s going on around here about half the time.

          2. Minding our own business is pursuing our own interests regardless of what other people do. The idea that we can’t do what’s in our own best interests because of what someone else did is absurd.

            It was not in our best interests to bomb, invade, and occupy Iraq. Both the United States and the Iraqi people might have been better off if we just minded our own business instead of trying to remake Iraqi society in our own image.

            Getting involved in the internal politics of Russia is another excellent example of not minding our own business. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama refused to work with Putin to destroy ISIS in Syria–because they cared more about voicing their displeasure with the way Putin treated LGBT in Moscow than they did about pursuing the best interests of American security. They cared more about voicing displeasure with the fairness of Putin’s election results than they did about defeating ISIS.

            “With the protesters accusing Putin of having rigged recent elections, the Russian leader pointed an angry finger at Clinton, who had issued a statement sharply critical of the voting results. “She said they were dishonest and unfair,” Putin fumed in public remarks, saying that Clinton gave “a signal” to demonstrators working “with the support of the U.S. State Department” to undermine his power. “We need to safeguard ourselves from this interference in our internal affairs,” Putin declared.”


            “Why Putin Hates Hillary”


            In fact, international condemnation of Putin plays right into the hands of Putin’s narrative about how the rest of the developed world is conspiring against Russia, and that condemnation feeds into his popularity by letting him present himself as the only man strong enough to stand up to the West and drain the swamp. Sound familiar?

            The Biden administration is presently citing the fact that Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban doesn’t guarantee equal rights for women as a reason why we shouldn’t abide by Trump’s peace deal and leave Afghanistan at the end of April. Biden doesn’t care so much about whether it’s in the best interests of the United States to leave. Biden cares about the women of Afghanistan (who might be better off not living in a forever war zone so long as we remain there anyway).

            These are all good examples of us failing to mind our own business. I’d say I hope that helps, but you don’t really care if you’re right or wrong, do you?

            1. So Clinton did what Trump was accused of? And Biden did what Clinton accused Putin of doing? The humanity!

              Putin regrets the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Iirc, calling it the greatest political casualty of the 20th century. Some see him as a General Secretary. I think he views himself as Peter the Great. He is more that than Ivan the Terrible. However one feels, a tsar nonetheless.

            2. From what I’ve gathered, poor Dee seems to think minding you own business means walking down the sidewalk while staring at the ground.

        3. Journalist/spy playing 3 sides (SA, US, Muslim Brotherhood)

          1. It wasn’t his “journalism” that got him bumped off

    2. And let’s say we don’t want to associate with tyrant murdering pieces of shit and we express that intention by sanctioning and making life a little more difficult for these creeps that to me would seem to qualify as “minding our business”. The world shouldn’t trade with Russia until they reform and rid themselves of their murderer President.

      1. Nord Stream 2 is happening, and it’s beautiful.

        1. Germany gets cheaper gas. Russia gets more dependent on German money. Russia fucks over the eastern European countries by cutting them out. Not exactly a clear picture.

          1. cope

      2. Great. Now do China.

        1. +1

          We might add making common cause with Stalin to defeat both the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese, and we might add that having a strategic relationship with Israel could be in the best interests of the United States–regardless of how Israel treats the people of Gaza.

          If we were minding our own business (and pursuing our own best interests), would we have invaded Iraq or waded into Vietnam?

          1. No, it’d be like working with Stalin before there was a Hitler.

            1. Are you unaware that Iran has an ICBM program, is enriching nuclear material in violation of the NPT, has perpetrated all sorts of violence in countries around it (from Lebanon to Syria and Yemen), and maintains a terrorist army, Hezbollah, that fights on Iran’s behalf and uses tactics that have included using suicide bombers to target civilians?

              Is Saudi Arabia’s (and the UAE’s, Egypt’s, and Israel’s) position in the world vis a vis Iran new to you?


              1. You will be very happy to know that in the recent report of the NYT Newspaper, A man has earned $11000 in a month by doing simple works Online.UJh I read this report and started following him. Now I am making $10000 in a month.
                If you want to read this NYT Newspaper Report…….. JOBS APP

        2. China makes me sick. I try not to buy their shit unlike that orange clown.

          1. Should American consumers be allowed to pursue their own interests by shopping at Walmart anyway? Or is your desire to express your opprobrium more important than your fellow Americans ‘s desire to do what’s best for themselves and their families–regardless of how China treats the people of Hong Kong and Xinjiang?

      3. Expressing the opinion that X is a tyrant may feel good and even be entirely right but it’s not “minding your own business”. Minding your own business means ignoring it.

        Sometimes “minding your own business” is the right answer. Often it is not.

        1. Minding our own business is pursuing our own interests–rather than obsessing about what other world leaders are doing in their own countries and trying to cancel them for it.

          Minding our own business is realizing that Somalia and Rwanda are not American’s problem to solve. Invading Iraq and Vietnam to liberate the people there are terrible examples of minding our own business.

      4. The Obama regime sanctioned Russia after they reacquired Crimea. This included no more Russian made AKs being imported from there to the US.

    3. Idiot.

      1. Care to elaborate?

        Are you defending cancel culture as a tool of foreign policy?

        1. First of all Geiger was calling *me* an idiot, in case you are arguing with him because you think he was insulting *you*.

          Second, you are the one with this massive stretching of definition that being concerned about violent atrocities is “cancel culture”.

          1. I see why you were called an idiot.

          2. Was I confused about who was being called an idiot?

            My bad.

            Still, I was interested in what he had to say and why–even when I thought he was calling me an idiot.

            I’ve been called worse.

            1. It’s always good to keep in mind who you’re talking to around here.

              Remember, Dee was once angry at Tulpa for stealing dildo’s handle, and his response was to steal about half a dozen people’s handles in response. To teach a moral lesson.

              So she clearly can’t comprehend you not giving a shit about random people on the internet calling you an idiot.

  7. Maybe they should investigate why POC are being offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which isn’t as effective, per the Washington Post.

    1. Maybe you should actually read the article you linked. Or better, read an actual article that explains the differences between the vaccines.

      The J&J vaccine does not require the same expensive and impractical temperature preservation as the other vaccines. It can, for example, be stored for 3 months in a regular refrigerator. That makes it a far more practical alternative anywhere you don’t have large populations supported by high-tech infrastructure.

      There’s a saying that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you go looking for racism, you’re sure to find it even when it’s not really there.

  8. Ashli Babbitt
    Douglass Mackey

    1. Insurrectionist.

    2. What’s your point? Doesn’t change a damn thing about Putin or that comatose Russian society that supports him.

    3. Reason treated the guy who defended Vicki Weaver’s murderer pro bono as some sort of rogue Trump stooge.

  9. Even Inspector LeStrade could solve this “mystery.”

  10. “State actors?” Question is, what State? Russia was getting too chummy with Germany, supplying natural gas, etc. Seems to me like someone driving a wedge.

    1. In the end, it’s pretty much always the Brits.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.