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

Jacques Maire (France ALDE)
©Council of Europe

In a debate held today at its plenary session in Strasbourg, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) noted “the ample medical evidence” showing that Alexei Navalny was poisoned with an organophosphorus cholinesterase inhibitor whilst in Russia. It underlined that five different 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 parliamentarians also noted investigative reports pointing to “the possibility of involvement of FSB agents in the poisoning of Mr Navalny”, this assertion being reinforced by the Russian authorities’ admission that Mr Navalny was under surveillance by the FSB.

Adopting a resolution based on the report by Jacques Maire (France, ALDE), PACE 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”, stressing that those carrying it out must be independent of the FSB, and that the investigation should ideally benefit from international co-operation.

PACE also called on the Russian Federation to “immediately release Mr Navalny” under the interim measure indicated by the European Court of Human Rights on 16 February 2021.

The adopted resolution called on the Russian Federation “to investigate the alleged development, production, stockpiling, and use of a chemical weapon on Russian territory”, providing concrete replies to questions posed by other States parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention as soon as possible.

Finally, PACE called on the Russian Federation to reach agreement "on a technical assistance visit by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons” at the very earliest opportunity.