Disinfo: Germany denies Russia consular access to Navalny despite four legal aid requests

Summary

Despite repeated requests for legal aid by Russian prosecutors, German authorities are denying the Russian Embassy consular access to activist Alexei Navalny.

Disproof

The story advances the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. The report falsely suggests that Russian prosecutors' requests for legal aid would oblige Berlin to grant Russian Embassy officials consular access to Navalny. However, legal aid and consular access are governed by two separate international agreements. In the context of the Navalny case, any requests for legal aid would fall under the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov himself stated that the 1959 treaty only applies to the "transfer of the biomaterial, test results, clinical samples and medical documentation required for a thorough, full inquiry into Navalny's illness and hospitalization." On the other hand, consular access falls within the scope of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The German Foreign Ministry spokesperson said 28 September that "Mr. Navalny is free to receive the consular visit if he wants to" [emphasis added], in line with Article 36(a) of the Convention:

"[C]onsular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending State shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State" [emphasis added].

The provision in italics means that consular officers cannot pay their co-nationals unsolicited visits abroad. Even a citizen under arrest or pending prosecution can only be visited by a consular official abroad "if he so requests," per Article 36(b).

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 214
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/10/2020
  • Outlet language(s) English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Diplomacy with Russia, Anti-Russian, Alexei Navalny, Chemical weapons/attack
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Kyiv will transfer weapons to Azerbaijan for the war in Nagorno-Karabakh

Kyiv decided to support Azerbaijan in military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh. Armament will go under the guise of humanitarian aid in the near future. It will be delivered to Azerbaijan by the military transport aircraft of Ukraine.

Disproof

This is a pro-Kremlin narrative about Nagorno-Karabakh. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has denied all similar statements that Ukraine is allegedly ready to get involved in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Also, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stressed that the decision to provide assistance to another state is made by the president and the government. However, the Foreign Ministry stressed that Ukraine remains committed to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov also denied all statements that Ukraine allegedly intends to transfer weapons to Azerbaijan. Avakov stressed that Ukraine will not provide military assistance to either side in the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict. The recent escalation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is a continuation of the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. It is reported that nearly 100 people, including civilians, have died as of 29 September 2020. On 27 September, the EU High Representative Josep Borrell made a statement calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities, de-escalation and for strict observance of the ceasefire.

Ukraine may use the war in Nagorno-Karabakh as a prerequisite for new hostilities in Donbas

The resumption of hostilities in the NKR [Nagorno-Karabakh Republic] significantly increases the threat of the activation of Ukrainian armed formations in Donbas on the demarcation line. Kyiv is being pushed to this suicidal attack by its American masters, who are trying to encircle Russia in a ring of instability and bloody conflicts: in Belarus, Transcaucasia, and Donbas. In the context of what is happening, it can be expected that Central Asia is next.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory with no proof presented to support any of the claims, mixing several recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the recent escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the war in Ukraine, and Russia being encircled by an aggressive West. There is no link between the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the war in Ukraine. The recent escalation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is a continuation of the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, while the war in Eastern Ukraine is a well-documented act of ongoing aggression by Russian armed forces, since February 2014. In Donbas, a truce was established in July 2020. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated multiple times that the achievement of a full, comprehensive, and long-lasting ceasefire is one of the key priorities of the Ukrainian government. There is no evidence that foreign powers had anything to do with the September 2020 military escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, that the escalation is meant to destabilise Russia or that they are trying to encircle Russia in a ring of instability and bloody conflicts. See other recent disinformation cases on the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region: that the escalation between Armenia and Azerbajan is directed against Russia, that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favours US interests, and someone wants to divert Russia from Belarus and Syria, or that the US has planned the turmoil in Belarus and the rise of tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh a year ago.

West uses Goebbels' methods to put pressure on Syria

The West is using Goebbels’ methods to put pressure on Syria. On April 7, 2018, a pseudo-humanitarian organisation called the White Helmets, who are associated with British intelligence, announced a chemical attack in the city of Douma. Western media immediately accused the Syrian army of using chemical weapons against civilians. The very next day, Jaysh al-Islam fighters fled from Douma and the Syrian and Russian military entered the city, who did not find any traces of a chemical attack. Subsequently, it became known that the video recordings of the consequences of the “chemical attack” provided to the Western media by “the White Helmets” were staged.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the chemical weapons attack inDouma, Syria. In March 2019, theOPCW confirmed in itsfinal report that chlorine was used in the attack on Douma, April 7, 2018. According to the Berlin Non-Profit Organisation Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), chemical weapons were used more than 300 times in Syria. Background: The White Helmets movement originated in Syria in 2012, when the first detachments of volunteer rescuers appeared in the territories outside of the control of Bashar al-Assad's troops. In 2014, volunteer teams merged into a national organisation, the Syrian Civil Defence, which is the official name of the White Helmets. Volunteers save people from the rubble after bombings, despite the danger of dying themselves as a result of repeated airstrikes. Activists have documented the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad government and allied forces. Russia is supporting Assad, therefore the White Helmets have become the target of an extensive Russian disinformation campaign. The White Helmets are a staple topic of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on the Syrian civil war, having already been accused of numerous other provocations and war crimes includingorgan trafficking;aiding terrorist organisations;staging and/orperpetrating chemical attacks, sometimes with the help ofWestern intelligence agencies.