Alexei Navalny, Via His Daughter, Dedicates Award to Political Prisoners in Belarus, Russia

Russia opposition leader Alexei Navalny has dedicated his human rights award to all political prisoners in Russia and Belarus.

Navalny's 20-year-old daughter, Daria Navalnaya, a student at Stanford University, accepted the award Tuesday from the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy on her father's behalf.

"You really should be looking at my father instead, but he's in a Russian prison right now simply because of what he says, does and believes in—and because he didn't die when the Russian government wanted him to," she said in a video message for the online event. She added that her father wrote her a letter from prison after he was chosen for the honor, asking her to give the award to "every single political prisoner in Russia and Belarus."

According to UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, who helped organize the event, Navalny was given the award for his "extraordinary courage and heroic efforts to sound the alarm about the Putin regime's grave violations of the human rights of the Russian people."

Alexei Navalny Courage Award
A worker paints over graffiti of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in St. Petersburg, Russia, on April 28. The inscription reads, "The hero of the new times." Olga MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Navalny was arrested in January upon his return from Germany, where he had spent five months recuperating from a nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin—accusations that Russian officials dismiss. He was given a two and a half year prison sentence in February for violating terms of a suspended sentence stemming from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that he denounced as politically motivated.

He went on a 24-day hunger strike in prison to protest the lack of medical treatment for severe back pain and numbness in his legs, ending it in April after getting the medical attention he demanded.

Navalny was chosen as this year's recipient for its annual "courage" award by more than two dozen human rights groups.

Also taking part in the event was Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main challenger in a vote in August in Belarus in which authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term. That victory was widely seen as rigged.

In a nod to her father's sense of humor, Navalnaya said he wrote in the letter: "First and most importantly, please do not screw up your first public performance. And second, don't forget to say how extremely proud I am to receive this high award."

Navalnaya, while active in blogging and standing up for her dad, has rarely made public appearances.

Daria Navalnaya Accepts Award For Father
In this image from video released Tuesday by the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, Daria Navalnaya, the daughter of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, accepts a human rights award for her father. Geneva Summit For Human Rights And Democracy video via AP