Navalny in Vladimir region east of Moscow to serve prison term

03 Mars, 2021, 08:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Navalny is seen inside a secure dock at a court in Moscow in a still image from video

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a penal colony for violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence for fraud charges that the European Court of Human Rights has deemed "arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable".

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a penal colony outside Moscow to serve his prison sentence, a public commission said on Sunday, weeks after he returned to Russian Federation after being poisoned.

The sixth anniversary of his murder comes just after Putin's current most prominent critic Alexei Navalny was sent to a penal colony to serve a almost three-year term he denounces as politically motivated.

For several days, Navalny's allies were unaware of his whereabouts, with the head of the Federal Prison Service saying Friday only that he had been transferred from a Moscow detention centre to a penal colony. Kalashnikov, the prison chief, said Navalny would be held "in normal conditions" and allowed to work at the facility if he wants to.

"I guarantee that there exists no threat to his life and health", he added.

The Group of Seven countries, including Japan, are calling for Navalny's release, saying his arrest is politically motivated.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Prison Service said she could not provide further details and was not at liberty to release personal data about convicts.

"He spoke the truth and for this in our country you get killed", Irina Drozdova, a 44-year-old lawyer, told AFP before laying flowers at the memorial.

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Navalny's right-hand man Leonid Volkov said the opposition politician's family has not been informed of his whereabouts, expressing concern over lack of transparency.

Navalny will be quarantined as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus before joining other prisoners in the colony, the monitoring commission said, according to the RIA news agency. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the claim.

Navalny's arrest in mid-January when he returned to Russian Federation provoked the biggest anti-Kremlin protests in years and was condemned by the European Union and the USA, which are both considering new sanctions to punish Putin for his imprisonment.

Navalny suffered a symbolic setback earlier this week, when Amnesty International rescinded his status as a 'prisoner of conscience, ' citing anti-immigrant statements he made early in his career that the rights group said qualified as "advocacy of hatred".

Amnesty defended its decision Thursday and said it opposed Navalny's prosecution and detention.

Navalny received the sentence for failing to check in with the authorities while recovering in Germany from a near-fatal nerve agent attack that he and Western governments blamed on the Kremlin. Navalny accuses Putin of ordering his attempted murder.

European Union leaders condemned Navalny's treatment on Thursday and demanded his immediate release.

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