Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Has Gone Missing After Prison Transfer, Lawyer Says

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has gone missing following a prison transfer and his whereabouts are unknown.

Navalny’s lawyers said that their client was no longer at the Pokrov penal colony where he was serving a 12-year sentence.

“Alexei Navalny was transported away from the penal colony No. 2. His lawyer, who came to see him, was kept at the checkpoint until 14.00, and was then told: ‘There is no such convict here,'” Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter on June 14.

Sergey Yazhan, chairman of the Public Monitoring Commission of Vladimir region, later told Russian state media TASS that Navalny arrived at IK-6, a high-security prison in Melekhovo located around 150 miles (241 kilometers) east of Moscow.

But Navalny’s aides could not confirm his prison transfer, saying that his attorneys and relatives were not informed in advance.

“There were rumors that he was going to be transferred to the high-security penal colony IK-6 ‘Melekhovo,’ but it is impossible to know when (and if) he will actually arrive there,” Yarmysh said.

“The problem with his transfer to another colony is not only that the high-security colony is much scarier. 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,” Yarmysh added.

Authorities imprisoned Navalny in February 2021 on charges of violating probation after he returned from Germany, where he had been recovering from being poisoned with a nerve agent in August 2020 — an attack he blamed on the Kremlin.

In March, Navalny received an additional nine years in prison on fraud charges and contempt of court.

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