Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been abruptly moved from prison where he is serving an 11.5-year sentence to an undisclosed location, nearly two years after he was poisoned with what the West has called nerve agent.
Navalny, by far Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, portrays President Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a dystopian state ruled by thieves and criminals where evil is seen as good and judges are ruled in fact the representatives of a doomed elite.
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Navalny’s main assistant informed about the transfer on the Telegram app on Tuesday.
Just last month, Navalny lambasted Putin via video link in a Russian court, portraying the Kremlin leader as a madman who started a “stupid war” that slaughtered innocent people in Ukraine and Russia.
When his lawyer arrived at Penal Colony No. 2, a prison camp in Pokrov, 119 kilometers (74 miles) east of Moscow, he was told: “There is no such convict here “, according to Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov.
“Where Alexei is now, and to which colony he is being taken, we do not know,” Volkov said in a statement on Telegram.
Navalny’s spokeswoman said there was speculation he was being taken to the high-security IK-6 Melekhovo penal colony near Vladimir, about 250 km (155 miles) east of Moscow.
The Russian Prison Service could not be reached for immediate comment.
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“The problem with moving him to another colony is not just that the high-security colony is much scarier: it’s more that we don’t know where Alexei is,” his spokeswoman Kira said. Yarmysh.
“He’s one-on-one with the system that has already tried to kill him.”
He won the admiration of the disparate Russian opposition for his voluntary return to Russia in 2021 from Germany where he underwent treatment for what Western lab tests showed was an attempt to poison him with an agent. neurotoxic in Siberia.
Upon his return, he was imprisoned for a parole violation. Russia denies Navalny’s claims that Russian secret police poisoned him with Novichok.
On March 24, Navalny was sentenced to an additional nine years in prison for fraud and contempt of court. The Leader of the Opposition says the charges against him are fabricated and aimed at thwarting his political ambitions.
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The judge ordered Navalny transferred to a maximum security prison, where his visitation and correspondence rights will be reduced.
Navalny’s political network has been largely dismantled since his incarceration, having been banned as an “extremist” organization. The main aides and organizers were either imprisoned or forced into exile.
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 that carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. additional.
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