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Resurfaced: Kremlin critic Navalny in penal colony in…

Resurfaced: Kremlin critic Navalny in penal colony in…

The opposition politician is serving a 19-year prison sentence. His whereabouts were not clear for three weeks.

Kremlin rival Alexei Navalny, missing for more than two weeks, has resurfaced. Navalny's spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, said on Monday via the X News service (formerly Twitter) that he had been transferred to the IK-3 punishment camp in Charb, northern Russia, in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Oblast. A lawyer saw him. “I am in good condition,” Garmisch said, according to a statement published in English. No trace of Navalny was found for 20 days.

His team and lawyers began a search operation. “We found Alexei!” His colleague Ivan Zhdanov said. He is in the Polar Wolf penal camp, in one of the northernmost and most remote colonies ever, more than 2,000 kilometers from Moscow. “The conditions there are brutal,” Zhdanov said. There are also perpetual frosts there. It was very difficult to get there; In addition, no messages will be delivered to the camp. It was clear from the beginning that the Moscow power apparatus wanted to isolate the opponent of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin before the presidential elections scheduled for March 17. Zhdanov criticized that “his whereabouts were kept secret.”

Navalny has been missing since the beginning of December

There was no further comment from the Prison Service or other Russian authorities on the reports regarding the detainee's whereabouts. Navalny, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison for, among other things, alleged extremism, has repeatedly filed lawsuits against the prison system for violating his rights. He uses court appearances to harshly criticize Putin's authoritarian regime. More recently, Navalny stopped participating in the negotiations when the election campaign began.

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The whereabouts of the Russian President's staunchest opponents have not been known since the beginning of December. There was also great concern for the 47-year-old man as he was in poor health. During court proceedings, prison staff stated only that Navalny was no longer in the IK-6 penal camp, about 260 kilometers east of Moscow in the Vladimir region.

“There is no Christmas miracle”

“Although today is also Christmas, the fact that Alexei was found on this day is not a Christmas miracle, but rather the huge and meticulous work done by lawyers at the Anti-Corruption Fund,” Yulia Navalnaya, the opposition activist’s wife, said on Instagram. with. She also posted an old selfie of herself with her husband from happier days.

Zhdanov, who heads the anti-corruption fund in exile, said Russia's Supreme Court claimed on Monday that Navalny's whereabouts were unknown. There was a complete blockade of information. Navalny's lawyers sent more than 600 requests and “searched” all pre-trial detention centers to find him. “The lawyer was with him today. He saw Alexei. But they didn’t let the lawyer see him right away,” Zhdanov said. He said the head of the Russian penal system, Arkady Gostev, was there in April to prepare the camp for Navalny’s arrival.

Imprisoned for nearly three years

Kremlin opponents around Navalny also started the “Russia Without Putin” campaign at the beginning of December, in which they called on voters before the presidential elections to express their protest by voting for other candidates. Putin is participating in the vote for the fifth time, and he believes that his competitors have no chance.

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Navalny, who also survived an assassination attempt with the Novichok nerve agent in 2020, has been imprisoned for nearly three years. He was internationally recognized as a political prisoner. The United States and the European Union have repeatedly expressed their concern in recent weeks and called on the Russian leadership to provide information about Navalny's whereabouts. Russia rejected this and considered it interference in its internal affairs. The Kremlin also said it could not care about the fate of prisoners in Russia. (APA/AFP)

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