More than 70 writers, actors and film directors wrote an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to allow doctors to visit Alexei Navalny. The signatories include J.K. Rowling, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jude Law, Stephen Fry, David Duchovny, J.J. Abrams and Svetlana Alexievich. The letter was published by Le Monde. The Insider quotes the entire text of the letter.
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.
Navalny has been on a hunger strike since March 31, demanding that an invited doctor be allowed to see him. He previously complained of sleep deprivation torture and unbearable pain in his back and legs. His attorneys reported he was rapidly losing weight, his condition steadily deteriorating. The FSIN (Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia) claims that they provide Navalny with all the necessary medical assistance.
The letter is signed by:
J. J. Abrams, director; Svetlana Alexievitch, writer, Nobel Prize for Literature (2015); Martin Amis, writer; Anne Applebaum, journalist and historian; Christopher Buckley, journalist and novelist; Ken Burns, director; Emmanuel Carrère, writer; Christopher Clark, historian; J. M. Coetzee, writer, Nobel Prize for Literature (2003); Benedict Cumberbatch, actor; Alan Cumming, actor; Michael Cunningham, writer; Rachel Cusk, writer; David Duchovny, actor; Louise Erdrich, writer; Sir Richard J. Evans, historian; Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and writer; Niall Ferguson, historian; Ralph Fiennes, actor; Orlando Figes, historian; Antonia Fraser, historian and novelist; Stephen Fry, actor, author; Neil Gaiman, writer; Henry Louis Gates Jr., historian; Louise Glück, poet, Nobel Prize for Literature (2020); Matt Haig, writer; David Hare, director; Robert Harris, writer; Daniel Kehlmann, writer; Etgar Keret, writer; David Lagercrantz, journalist and writer; Jude Law, actor; Marc Levy, writer; Ling Ma, writer; Ben Macintyre, writer and historian; Hilary Mantel, writer; Agnès Martin-Lugand, writer; Natascha McElhone, actress; Ian McKellen, actor; Catherine Merridale, historian; Herta Müller, writer, Nobel Prize for Literature (2009); Peter Nadas, writer; Sylvia Nasar, journalist; Bill Nighy, actor; Suzanne Nossel, writer; Amélie Nothomb, writer; Michael Ondaatje, writer; George Packer, journalist; Orhan Pamuk, writer and Nobel Prize for Literature (2006); Robert Peston, journalist; Maria Popova, writer; Richard Powers, writer; Ellendea Proffer Teasley, writer; Vanessa Redgrave, actress; David Remnick, journalist; J.K. Rowling, writer, Arundhati Roy, writer; Salman Rushdie, writer; Philippe Sands, writer; Nitin Sawhney, composer; Simon Schama, historian; Samanta Schweblin, writer; Kristin Scott Thomas, actress; Simon Sebag Montefiore, writer; Elif Shafak, writer; Peter Singer, philosopher; Ali Smith, writer; Timothy Snyder, historian; Art Spiegelman, designer-illustrator; Juliet Stevenson, actress; Tom Stoppard, playwright; Patrick Süskind, writer; Colm Toibin, writer; Björn Ulvaeus, guitarist; Tim Weiner, writer; Simon Winchester, journalist; John Wray, writer; Thom Yorke, musician.