Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny revealed on Wednesday that he had been moved to a maximum security prison known as the “torture mat”.
Navalny, the fiercest opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, wrote on his Telegram channel that he had been transferred to the IK-6 prison in the village of Melekhovo, in the Vladimir region, about 250 km east from Moscow.
“My space journey continues,” Navalny joked on Wednesday, seemingly optimistic. “I moved from ship to ship. In other words, greetings to you all from a strict diet zone.
He reported that he was in quarantine, but did not say why or what his conditions were.
Navalny also complained of having “almost lost his mind” after having to transport his huge collection of books from one prison to another.
“Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I was carrying these bags and thinking that burning books wasn’t necessarily a bad thing,” he joked.
Until this week, Navalny was serving an 11.5-year sentence at the IK-2 penal colony in the village of Pokrov in the Vladimir region.
But when his lawyer arrived at the jail on Tuesday to meet him, he was told: “There is no such convict here.
“Where Alexei is now and which colony he is being taken to, we don’t know,” Navalny chief of staff Leonid Volkov said on the Telegram app.
Hours later, regional prison monitor Sergey Yazhan said by phone that Navalny had been taken to the infamous Melekhovo penal colony.
Melekhovo prison has become synonymous with allegations of brutal torture and systematic rape of prisoners.
A former prisoner told Russian independent media Mediazona in detail last year how he saw another convict being savagely beaten and sodomized with a pipe to extract a confession.
Navalny himself spoke of the prison’s terrifying reputation last month when he first learned he might be transferred there.
“They say if you google ‘Melekhovo’ there will be stories from prisoners about how nails are pulled out there,” he wrote on Instagram.
Navalny was first jailed for two-and-a-half years for a parole violation in February 2021 after he voluntarily returned from Germany, where he was recovering from apparent Novichok nerve agent poisoning in Russia which he blames. the Kremlin to have ordered.
On March 24, Navalny was sentenced to an additional nine years in prison for fraud and contempt of court. The high-profile dissident claims the charges against him were fabricated and politically motivated.
The judge ordered that Navalny, who has blasted Russia’s war in Ukraine as “stupid”, be transferred to a maximum security prison, where his visitation and correspondence rights will be reduced.
Navalny said two weeks ago he had been charged in a new criminal case with founding an extremist organization and inciting hatred towards authorities, offenses which carry a maximum sentence of 15 more years .
With pole wires
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Post expires at 12:57pm on Sunday June 26th, 2022