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Russia

US ‘deeply concerned’ over fate of jailed Vladimir Putin foe Alexei Navalny

user avatar Author: Editors Desk Source: News Corp Australia Network:
December 24, 2023 at 13:22

The United States has voiced deepening concern over the fate of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has not been heard from since early December.

The United States has voiced deepening concern over the fate of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has not been heard from since early December.

The United States has voiced deepening concern over the fate of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has not been heard from since early December.

The United States has voiced deepening concern over the fate of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has not been heard from since early December.

“We are deeply concerned about the whereabouts of Alexei Navalny, who has now been missing in Russia’s prison system for nearly three weeks,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on X, the former Twitter.

“We once more call for his immediate release and an end to the continued repression of independent voices in Russia.” On Monday, UN rights expert Mariana Katzarova joined a chorus of voices expressing concern at Navalny’s “enforced disappearance.”

The dissident’s lawyers say they have been unable to see or contact him since December 6.

On December 15, Navalny spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said a court representative told her that he had been removed from a prison near Moscow to an undisclosed location.

The lack of updates could mean Navalny is being transferred to a harsher prison following a court ruling earlier this year.

The process can take weeks in Russia, where prisoners are slowly moved by rail between far-flung facilities.
 

The United States has voiced deepening concern over the fate of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has not been heard from since early December.
The United States has voiced deepening concern over the fate of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has not been heard from since early December.

Navalny’s team has said his possible transfer to another prison has been purposefully timed as the Kremlin gears up for President Vladimir Putin’s expected re-election in March.

Navalny, 47, Putin’s main political opponent, was barred from running in elections in 2018 due to an old fraud charge that his allies said was politically motivated.

He received a 19-year prison sentence in 2021 on charges of “extremism” after surviving a poisoning attempt on his life, for which he blamed Putin.

It came after Russia issued an arrest warrant for Maria Pevchikh, a longtime ally of Navalny.

The Kremlin doubled down on its repression of Russia’s already-weakened civil society since ordering troops into Ukraine early last year.
 

Navalny, 47, Putin’s main political opponent, was barred from running in elections in 2018 due to an old fraud charge that his allies said was politically motivated.
Navalny, 47, Putin’s main political opponent, was barred from running in elections in 2018 due to an old fraud charge that his allies said was politically motivated.

The lack of updates could mean Navalny is being transferred to a harsher prison, following a court ruling earlier this year.
The lack of updates could mean Navalny is being transferred to a harsher prison, following a court ruling earlier this year.

“Look, I am now on Russia’s wanted list,” Pevchikh said in a social media post featuring a smiling emoji with sunglasses.

“Not sure for what but who cares,” she added, alongside a screenshot of the interior ministry’s announcement.

Pevchikh had already left Russia and is running the Anti-Corruption Foundation, an organisation founded by Navalny that highlights corruption among Russian elites.

Navalny was jailed in 2021 after surviving an attempt to assassinate him by poisoning.

His sentence was extended earlier this year to 19 years on extremism charges, a ruling that means he is likely to be moved to a more secure prison.

His allies and supporters have voiced growing concern, claiming they have not been able to account for his whereabouts in more than two weeks.

“Navalny was supposed to have a (court) hearing now. He did not show up again,” his spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh said on social media.

“We have not had any information about Alexei for 16 days,” she said, adding that the court had promised to send a request for information to the penitentiary service.

Navalny could be undergoing a prison transfer, a process that can take weeks in Russia, where inmates are moved by rail between far-flung facilities.

Several international rights groups and Western governments have expressed concern over Navalny’s whereabouts.

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