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Why is Shabana appealing to Putin?

April 20, 2021 07:10 IST
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IMAGE: Protesters march in Hollywood in support of Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was sentenced to a Russian prison, in Los Angeles, February 6, 2021.Photograph: Ringo Chiu/Reuters

Forever the fiery activist, Shabana Azmi has joined hands with other iconic film personalities -- Vanessa Redgrave, Pedro Almodovar, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Benedict Cumberbach, Jude Law and Shekhar Kapur -- to petition Russian President Vladmir Putin on Russian Oppositin leader Alexey Navalny's deteriorating health in a prison near Moscow.

Navalny's campaign against corruption in the Russian government has caught the world's attention.

IMAGE: Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a hearing to consider an appeal against an earlier court decision to change his suspended sentence to a real prison term in Moscow, February 20, 2021. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

The letter to Putin reads:

'As we write, Alexey Navalny is being held in a penal colony that many lawyers and human rights advocates consider to be one of the harshest in Russia. As has been reported worldwide, his health is deteriorating and he is in a critical state and requires urgent medical attention.

'Alexey Navalny is exhibiting symptoms of a severe neurological disorder -- constant back pain and the loss of sensation in his legs and hands. In addition, he is suffering from a severe cough and fever.

'As a Russian citizen, he has the lawful right to be examined and treated by a doctor of his choice. Having been denied this right, on March 30th, he began a hunger strike in protest.

'We call on you, Mr President, to ensure that Alexey Navalny is immediately given the medical treatment and care that he urgently requires -- and is entitled to under Russian law. As someone who has sworn to uphold the law, you have only to do so.'

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