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PACE committee calls on Russia to launch an ‘independent and effective’ investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny

Alexey Navalny / Russian Federation

A PACE committee has called on the Russian Federation to fulfil its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights by launching an independent and effective investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, adding that those carrying it out “must be independent from the FSB”.

Approving a draft resolution based on a report by Jacques Maire (France, ALDE) at a meeting today in Paris, the Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights said it noted “the ample and widely reported medical evidence showing that Mr Navalny was poisoned with an organophosphorus cholinesterase inhibitor whilst in Russia”.

Five separate tests had established that the poison was structurally related to a group of chemicals generally referred to as “Novichok”, an extremely toxic nerve agent known to have been produced only in state laboratories of the USSR and, reportedly, Russia.

The committee also noted investigative reports pointing to “the possibility of involvement of agents of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in the poisoning of Mr Navalny”, an assertion further reinforced by the Russian authorities’ admission that Mr Navalny was under FSB surveillance.

It also urged Russia to fulfil its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, including by “investigating the alleged development, production, stockpiling and use of a chemical weapon on Russian territory”, and to reach agreement on a technical assistance visit by the OPCW in standard conditions at the earliest opportunity.

Finally, the committee urged Mr Navalny’s immediate release in line with the interim measures issued by the European Court of Human Rights on 16 February 2021.

The report is due to be debated by the Assembly, which brings together parliamentarians from 47 European nations, at its January plenary session (24-28 January 2022).