Navalny Sent to 'One of the Toughest' Penal Colonies

Official says dissident has arrived at Melekhovo prison; Navalny camp says it hasn't verified claim
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2022 11:23 AM CDT
Updated Jun 15, 2022 8:51 AM CDT
Lawyer, Aides Can't Find Navalny
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears from prison on a video link provided by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service, at a courtroom in Vladimir, Russia, June 7, 2022.   (AP Photo/Vladimir Kondrashov)

Update: In May, Alexei Navalny had written in a Telegram post that he'd heard inmates at the notorious penal colony in Melekhovo were building a "prison within a prison" for him. He may now be detained in that disturbing-sounding confinement: Per CNN, the head of a regional public oversight panel told the Tass state news agency on Tuesday that the 46-year-old Russian dissident, recently sentenced to nine years in prison on what critics say are trumped-up fraud charges, had arrived at the maximum-security colony as a transfer from his original prison. A rep from Navalny's camp, Kira Yarmysh, says their team has received no confirmation this is true. Anna Veduta, VP of the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by Navalny, says in a statement to Fox News that news of the transfer is "hardly a relief," adding: "This colony is known to be one of the toughest and most torturous in Russia." Our original story from Tuesday follows:

Aides of jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny are concerned about his welfare after his reported removal to an undisclosed location. His lawyer arrived at a prison camp where Navalny had been serving sentences for alleged fraud and parole violations, only to be told, "There is no such convict here," spokesperson Kira Yarmysh tells Politico. (This has actually happened before.) "Neither Alexei's attorneys nor his relatives were informed about his transfer in advance," the rep says. "There were rumors that he was going to be transferred to the high-security penal colony IK-6 'Melekhovo'" near Vladimir, Yarmysh adds, per Reuters. "But it is impossible to know when, and if, he will actually arrive there."

In March, Navalny received nine years in prison for alleged fraud and contempt of court in what Amnesty International called a "sham trial" in violation of international human rights law. A year earlier, he'd been sentenced to more than 2.5 years in prison on charges that he violated probation while recovering from nerve agent poisoning in Germany. The US, European Union, and allied countries say the poisoning was an attack ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yarmysh notes "as long as we don't know where Alexei is, he remains one-on-one with the system that has already tried to kill him, so our main task now is to locate him as soon as possible."

story continues below

Navalny's transfer comes two weeks after he announced he was facing new charges of forming an extremist group and inciting hatred towards authorities, which could bring another 15 years in prison, per Reuters. Weeks earlier, while appearing in court to appeal his fraud conviction, Russia's most prominent opposition leader had berated Putin, calling him a "madman" and "crazy thief" who started a "stupid war" in Ukraine that is not only "based on lies" but resulting in innocent people dying on both sides, per Reuters. "You will all suffer historic defeat," he added. "When you will all be burning in hell, your grandfathers will be adding wood to your fires." (Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.