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Navalny's allies on alert, have not heard from the Kremlin prisoner for 6 days

2023-12-11 20:01:51, Kosova & Bota CNA

Navalny's allies on alert, have not heard from the Kremlin prisoner for 6

Allies of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny sounded the alarm on Monday, saying neither they nor the politician's lawyers have heard from him in six days.

Navalny, who is serving a 19-year prison sentence on extremism charges, was due to appear in court on Monday via video link but did not, spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said. She said prison officials said a video link was not possible due to power problems. Lawyers have also been unable to communicate with Mr Navalny in recent days, according to Ms Yarmysh.

"It is already the sixth day in a row that we do not know where Alexei is and what is happening to him," Yarmysh wrote on the X platform.

Navalny, 47, has been behind bars since January 2021. As President Vladimir Putin's staunchest foe, he campaigned against corruption and organized large anti-Kremlin protests. He was arrested after returning to Moscow from Germany, where he recovered from nerve agent poisoning, which he blamed on the Kremlin.

Navalny has since received three prison sentences and spent months in solitary confinement in a penal colony in the Vladimir region east of Moscow for minor infractions. He rejected all the accusations against him, considering them politically motivated.

Last week, Ms. Yarmysh said that for three days in a row, Mr. Navalny's lawyers spent hours at the penal colony, waiting for permission to visit him. Letters addressed to the politician were not reaching him and he did not appear at scheduled court hearings via video link.

Ms. Yarmysh said on Friday that the developments were worrying given that Navalny had recently fallen ill. "He felt dizzy and lay on the floor. Prison officials rushed to him, unfolded the bed, put Alexei on it and gave him first aid. We don't know what caused him to fall to the floor, but considering he has food restrictions, is being held in a cell with no ventilation and minimal outdoor time, it appears he passed out from starvation."

She added that lawyers visited him after the incident and he seemed "more or less fine".

Mr. Navalny was scheduled to be transferred to another "special security" penal colony, a facility with the highest level of security in the Russian prison system.

Russian prison transfers are known for the long time they take, sometimes weeks, during which there is no access to the prisoners and information about their whereabouts is limited or unavailable./ VOA

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