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Home World News Washington Post World News Navalny has reportedly been moved to a maximum-security prison notorious for abuse

Navalny has reportedly been moved to a maximum-security prison notorious for abuse

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Imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin and an outspoken opponent of his invasion of Ukraine, has reportedly been transferred from his prison colony to a high-security facility known for systematic abuse of detainees.

Oleg Yazhan, chairman of the Public Monitoring Commission of the Vladimir region, told state media that Navalny had arrived at “IK-6”, referring to a prison in Melekhovo, some 240 miles east of Moscow.

But Navalny’s aides said they could not confirm that he had been transferred to Melekhovo and that they could not provide an explanation of his whereabouts, although his legal team had been told he was being transferred.

Earlier on Tuesday, Navalny’s allies had sounded the alarm by saying he was missing in the Pokrov penal colony, where he had spent months behind bars. The lawyer who went to visit Navalny was told that “there is no such convict” and was rejected.

The reported transfer comes after a court ruling in March sentenced Navalny to an additional nine years in prison on charges of fraud and contempt of court. His legal team appealed, but the decision was upheld in May. Navalny has criticized all cases against him as the Kremlin tries to thwart his political ambition.

“The problem with his transfer to another colony is not just that the high-security colony is much scarier,” Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said in a tweet. “Until we know where Alexei is, he will remain one-on-one with the system that has already tried to kill him.”

The Melekhovo facility has been the subject of multiple media investigations that have revealed the brutality in the Russian penitentiary system and the systematic mistreatment of prisoners by guards and other convicts.

“Many Russian prisons use ill-treatment and torture against prisoners, but IK-6 in Melekhovo is a monstrous place even by such insane standards,” Yarmysh said in a tweet in May, when it was first rumored that Navalny could be there. end.

In videos from inside Melekhovo over the years, inmates have told stories of beatings, humiliation and rape.

“They pushed me into the office. There were six people in masks: five were in uniform, the sixth was wearing a cloak. They threw me on mattresses, tied my legs and arms, took off my pants and sat on my back,” said one inmate, Artem Gribanov, who described how he was raped in a clip recorded by his lawyer last year.

Jobir Zhuraev, another IK-6 inmate, said in another recording that he was systematically drugged, beaten and humiliated. Zhuraev’s father told Mediazona news channel that in protest, his son cut his wrists and tried to hang himself.

“There is no law there,” Yarmysh said. “And that’s where Putin wants to put Navalny because he’s not afraid of him and speaks the truth.”

Navalny was immediately arrested when he returned from Germany in early 2021, where he was recovering from a severe attack of nerve agent poisoning that he personally blamed on Putin. The Kremlin denied any involvement.

A court subsequently charged Navalny with violating the terms of his parole for failing to show up for checks with local authorities in Russia, and sentenced him to 2½ years in prison. The opposition leader ridiculed the charge, saying he could not keep up with the visits because he was in a coma.

Alexei Navalny calls on Russians worldwide to ‘fight the war’, sneers Putin

Even behind bars, Navalny has remained an outspoken and determined critic of the Russian government. He used closing arguments in his multiple court hearing as a stand for fiery political speeches and made written statements to his millions of social media followers through lawyers.

In late May, he denounced Putin as a “crazy” for launching “the stupid war” in Ukraine and criticized the president’s allies as “enemies, traitors and murderers of the Russian people”.

“Your time is passing. And if you all burn in hell, your grandfathers, who didn’t want you to start new wars in the 21st century, will throw firewood into it,” Navalny said.

Russia wants to militarize schoolchildren and censor textbooks amid war

Just days after this speech, Navalny broke the news in an Instagram post that he had been charged in a new criminal case and could receive an additional 15 years on top of his existing 11½ year prison sentence.

“It turns out that I created an extremist group to foment hatred towards officials and oligarchs. And when they put me in jail, I dared to be angry about it and called for demonstrations,” he said funny.

Navalny’s political and anti-corruption networks, including the foundation that investigated Putin’s personal wealth, were declared “extremist” last summer and equated with the Islamic State and the Taliban under Russian law. Many of Navalny’s allies have fled the country or are being persecuted.



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