Alexei Navalni, one of the main figures in the opposition to President Vladimir Putin, has been transferred from the penal colony where he has been held since last month to an unknown location, one of his lawyers said in a released statement. Friday.
Vadim Kobzev said he was with Navalni on Thursday (11), but another lawyer who tried to visit him on Friday was told of the transfer. The body that administers the Russian prison system, however, did not disclose the opponent’s whereabouts, citing a law on the protection of personal information.
“The prison said he was not there and ready,” Kobzev told Reuters news agency. According to the lawyer, Navalni was in good health during the visit the day before.
“It is obvious that this is a special operation, the main objective of which is to keep Alexei isolated, not to tell anyone where he is, so that neither his family nor his lawyers can find him,” wrote Kira Iarmich, advisor. on Twitter.de Navalni.
Iarmich also linked the transfer of the opponent to the disclosure of an opinion of the Committee of Ministers of the European Council calling for the immediate release of Navalni.
According to the document, there were “fundamentally flawed procedures” in the opponent’s judgment, so the Russian authorities should, according to the opinion, take “all possible measures to overturn the convictions and erase all negative consequences. ” against him.
The 44-year-old opponent was arrested in January, moments after returning to Russia after being treated in Germany for poisoning he suffered in August. Navalni and his allies blame Putin directly for the assassination attempt.
The activist is formally accused of violating the conditions of his probation by leaving the country, even though the release occurred for medical reasons – he was in a coma.
Navalni was sentenced to jail for commuted fraud in 2014, in a trial he calls judicial harassment. Although nominally independent, the Russian judiciary is generally aligned with the Kremlin.
Russian justice last month confirmed the conviction of the anti-corruption activist. In total, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, of which he has already served ten months at home.
Blogger and lawyer, Navalni appeared in the public arena during protests against Putin in 2012. The following year, he ran for mayor in Moscow and won 27% of the vote.
But it was in 2017 that he appeared to the world, commanding via the Internet the call for a day of protests that united thousands of people in the streets of Russia. Due to legal proceedings, he was not allowed to appear against Putin in 2018.
He then adopted a tactic within politics: to encourage any candidacy at the regional level contrary to United Russia, the ruling party.
He achieved significant symbolic successes in the local elections of 2019 and 2020, and his return to Russia was seen as preparation for the shock of the parliamentary elections in September. Now, with him in prison, his wife, Iulia Navalnaia, is expected to gain prominence in the face of Putin.
Navalni was poisoned in August 2020 and directly accused Putin of the assassination attempt. He was treated in Berlin, where doctors claimed to have found the famous Russian secret service poison Novichok in his body.
Navalni later released the recording of a joke he made to one of the FSB (Federal Security Service, successor to the KGB) agents identified as the perpetrators of the attack – in him, the spy thinks he’s talking to a superior and admits to putting poison in his activist’s underwear in the hotel room.
The Kremlin denies any involvement, and Putin joked late last year that if Russia had wanted to kill Navalni, it would have done so.