Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Navalny moved to secret location

  • Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been abruptly transferred from prison where he was serving his sentence to an undisclosed location.
  • He was poisoned almost two years ago with what the West believed was a nerve agent.
  • His lawyer was told on arrival at a detention camp that “there was no such convict here”.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been abruptly transferred from prison where he is serving an 11-1/2 year sentence to an undisclosed location, nearly two years since he was poisoned with what the West believed was a nerve agent.

Navalny, by far Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, views President Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a dystopian state run by thieves and criminals where the wrong is labeled right and judges are in fact representatives of a doomed elite.

Navalny’s top employee inquired about the transfer on Tuesday via the Telegram app.

Just last month, Navalny criticized Putin via video link in a Russian court, portraying the Kremlin chief as a madman who started a “dumb war” that slaughtered the innocent people of both Ukraine and Russia.

When his attorney arrived at Correctional Colony No. 2, a detention camp in Pokrov, 119 km east of Moscow, he was told: “There is no such convict here,” said Navalny’s chief of staff Leonid Volkov.

Volkov said in a statement to Telegram:

Where Alexei is now and to which colony he will be taken, we do not know.

Navalny’s spokesman said there was speculation that he would be taken to the maximum-security penal colony IK-6 Melekhovo near Vladimir, about 250 km east of Moscow.

The Russian prison service could not be reached for immediate comment.

“The problem with his transfer 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,” said his spokesman Kira Yarmysh.

“He’s one-on-one with the system that’s already tried to kill him.”

He gained admiration from the disparate Russian opposition for voluntarily returning to Russia in 2021 from Germany, where he was being treated for what Western lab tests say was an attempt to poison him with a nerve agent in Siberia.

On his return, he was jailed for parole violations. Russia denies Navalny’s claims that the 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 opposition leader says the charges against him are fabricated and aim to thwart his political ambitions.

The judge ordered that Navalny be transferred to a maximum-security prison, where his rights to visit and correspondence will be reduced.

Navalny’s political network has been largely dismantled since his imprisonment, after it was banned as an “extremist” organization. Senior aides and organizers have been jailed or forced into exile.

Navalny said two weeks ago that he had been charged in a new criminal case with founding an extremist organization and inciting hatred against the authorities, crimes carrying a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.