“Where’s Navalny?” “ On Sunday February 28, lawyers and relatives of the Russian opponent finally learned that he has arrived in an area 200 kilometers east of Moscow to be transferred to a penal colony, where he will serve a two-year sentence and eight months in prison.
“Alexey Navalny arrived in a Russian prison service establishment in the Vladimir region to serve his sentence”, announced the Moscow State Commission (ONK) for monitoring places of detention in a statement. ONK Secretary General Alexeï Melnikov told Russian news agency Interfax that Navalny would first be placed in quarantine before being transferred to one of the region’s penal colonies.
According to sources interviewed by the TASS and Ria Novosti agencies, the opponent will be transferred to the penal colony no 2, located in the small town of Pokrov. According to media reports, prisoners are treated in this colony according to a “Normal diet”, that is to say that the conditions of detention are less severe; About 800 prisoners are held there.
No “official confirmation”
The fate of Alexei Navalny had been unknown since his departure, Thursday, February 26, from the Moscow detention center where he had been imprisoned since his arrest. One of Mr. Navalny’s close associates, Leonid Volkov, noted on Twitter that there is still no “Official confirmation” prison services of the opponent’s fate and that his relatives and lawyers were not informed of anything, as is often the case in Russia when a prisoner is transferred to a colony.
“The Russian prison service is a sadistic, completely rotten system that cannot be reformed, because this system does not know how to work under the law at all, but only knows how to beat and laugh at people., denounced Mr. Volkov, refugee abroad. We demand official information on Navalny’s whereabouts and the admission of lawyers to him. “
Legacy of the Gulag
A legacy of the Soviet-era gulag, Russian penitentiary colonies have a very bad reputation, between accusations of ill-treatment, unsanitary conditions or even widespread torture. Most prison sentences in Russia are served in these camps, which are sometimes far from everything and where the work of inmates, usually in tailoring or furniture-making workshops, is often compulsory.
On Friday, the head of the Russian prison services, Alexander Kalashnikov, assured that Mr. Navalny “Has been transferred to the place where it is supposed to be by court order” and that it does not weigh on the main opponent of the country “No threat to his life or health”.
The opponent “Will carry out his sentence under absolutely normal conditions”, he said, ensuring that “Mr. Navalny, if he wishes, will take part in production activities”. A source interviewed by TASS said on Sunday that Mr. Navalny “Can work as a machinist or sew masks after completing his training, or become a librarian or even a cook”.
Multiple legal proceedings
Alexeï Navalny has been the target of multiple legal proceedings since his return to Russia in January, five months after his poisoning. He accuses President Vladimir Putin and the secret services of being responsible.
Russian justice last week confirmed the conviction of the 44-year-old anti-corruption activist in a fraud case dating from 2014, which he and many Western capitals and NGOs denounce as political.
His arrest on January 17 sparked major protests in Russia, to which authorities responded with more than 11,000 arrests, usually followed by fines and short prison terms. Alexeï Navalny was also fined for “defamation” and several other court cases await him, including an investigation for fraud, punishable by ten years in prison.
Our selection of articles on the Alexeï Navalny affair