Six In The Morning Friday 16 February 2024

Jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny dead, says prison service

UN calls for independent investigation

Imogen Foulkes

BBC Geneva Correspondent

The UN Human Rights Office says it is “appalled” by the reported death of Alexei Navalny, adding that it should be investigated by an independent body.

In a statement issued in Geneva the UN office said it had repeatedly raised concerns about the imprisonment of Navalny, which “appeared to be arbitrary”.

UN human rights chief Volker Türk publicly called for his release last summer, saying his lengthy sentence suggested Russia was using the court system for political purposes.

“If someone dies in the custody of the State,” the UN statement adds, “the presumption is that the State is responsible.”

It adds that this “responsibility can only be rebutted through an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body”.


  1. Jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is dead, the prison service of the region where he had been serving his sentence says
  2. Navalny, an outspoken critic of President Putin, has been in Russian jail since 2021 on charges widely viewed as politically motivated
  3. Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, has said she doesn’t know whether the “horrible news” is true
  4. Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesperson, said his team had yet to receive confirmation of the death but his lawyer was travelling to Siberia
  5. Putin’s spokesman said Russian’s penitentiary service was looking into Navalny’s death but provided no further information
  6. In August, Navalny was found guilty of founding and funding an extremist organisation, which he denies, and was given an extra 19 years in jail
  7. He had already been sentenced to nine years for parole violations, fraud and contempt of court

The mysterious, violent and unsolved deaths of Putin’s foes and critics

Alexei Navalny is latest of Putin’s opponents to have died over course of Russian leader’s nearly 25 years in power

Vladimir Putin’s foes and critics have often met with violent deaths at the very peak of their conflicts with the Kremlin leader during his nearly quarter-century in power.

Alexei Navalny’s death, which many foreign leaders and supporters say is murder, came after he was banished to an Arctic Circle prison, where he was regularly thrown in a punishment cell, exposed to the elements and significantly malnourished. Western officials including the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and vice-president, Kamala Harris, have directly blamed the Kremlin for his death.

Putin’s other foes have been targeted in diverse ways: shootings, poisonings and even a plane crash. Many of the deaths are never solved and remain listed as accidents and suicides, leaving open the question of just how many of his enemies Putin has dispatched with over the years.

Cambodia: Taiwanese streamers jailed for fake kidnapping

A court in Cambodia on Friday sentenced two Taiwanese men to two years imprisonment for staging a kidnapping from a seaside resort and posting video of it online.

Chen Neng-chuan, who goes by the handle “Goodnight Chicken” and Lu Tsu-hsien known as “Anow,” were arrested after posting fake videos on Facebook of themselves being beaten and detained by security guards, according to the Preah Sihanouk provincial court.

Abandoned at sea, part 1: Syrian crew stranded for two years at Libyan port

Our team has obtained rare footage from sailors abandoned by their employers years ago, leaving them far from their homes in ports or open water. During this three-month investigation, we looked at official documents and contracts provided by crewmembers as well as open-source data to trace the navigation history of these dilapidated vessels before their abandonment. The first part of this special edition, produced in partnership with independent Syrian investigators SIRAJ, reveals a complex set-up of shell companies used by a group of Syrian-Romanian ship owners to evade legal disputes and Western sanctions.

When the East Express, a 97-metre general cargo ship flying the flag of Togo, docked in the Libyan port of Misrata on January 18, 2022, its crew thought they would offload their cargo of sugar and move on. But the port authorities declared the sugar unfit for consumption and impounded the ship. The crew have been there ever since -– two years and counting.

This legal impediment prevented the delivery of the sugar to its Libyan purchaser, eventually leading the ship’s registered owner, Mina Shipping Ltd., to  abandon the vessel with its 12-member crew still on board: ten Syrians, one Egyptian and one Indian.

No lunch in Ginza: Japan’s scaled-back spending helps push economy to recession

By Chris Gallagher and Akiko Okamoto

To grasp the dynamics that bumped Japan into recession and off its perch as the world’s third largest economy on Thursday, look no further than Risa Shinkawa’s dining habits.

Unlike unionized workers at big manufacturers such as Toyota Motor Corp, the 32-year-old aesthetician isn’t expecting a pay rise anytime soon. Rather, her salary has been cut, a reflection of the squeeze on the services sector, especially at the smaller companies that employ some 70% of Japan’s workforce.

She’s duly cut back on discretionary spending, which on Thursday meant no buying lunch in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza shopping district.

Satellite photos show Egypt building Gaza wall as Israel’s Rafah push looms

Despite its opposition to displacement of Palestinians, Cairo appears to be preparing for a scenario forced by Israel.

Egypt is building a fortified buffer zone near its border with the Gaza Strip as fears mount of an imminent Israeli ground invasion of the southern city of Rafah, which could displace hundreds of thousands of Palestinians across the frontier, according to satellite images and media reports.

Footage from the site in the Sinai desert and satellite photos show that an area that could offer basic shelter to tens of thousands of Palestinians is being constructed with concrete walls being set up on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, the only non-Israeli-controlled crossing to and from Gaza.