This Friday, February 26, Kremlin opponent Alexeï Navalny was transferred from his prison in the penal colony where he will serve a sentence of two and a half years. The announcement was made by the head of the Russian Prison Service (FSIN).
“He was transferred to the place where he is supposed to be by court order,” Alexander Kalashnikov said. specifying that the opponent weighs “no threat to his life or health”. He “will serve his sentence under absolutely normal conditions,” he added, assuring that “Mr. Navalny, if he wishes, will participate in production activities.”
Most prison terms in Russia are carried out in prison camps, sometimes entirely outside the city. In these colonies, inmates work mainly in sewing or furniture making workshops, often without a choice.
11,000 arrests during pro-Navalny protests
A FSIN spokesperson told AFP not being able to provide information on the place of detention of Alexey Navalny, not have the right to disclose personal data of the detainees. The Russian opponent’s lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, said he did not know the whereabouts of his client.
Alexeï Navalny was arrested on January 17 upon his return from Germany. He had spent almost five months there in convalescence to recover from the poisoning he suffered and for which the Kremlin accuses. His arrest sparked numerous protests in Russia. In total, 11,000 arrests were made, generally followed by fines and short prison sentences. Most of the opponent’s collaborators were also arrested.
More recently, the Kremlin’s main detractor was fined for “defamation” within hours of being sentenced on appeal to two and a half years in prison in another case. An investigation for fraud also awaits him, punishable by ten years in prison.
Amnesty International no longer considers him a “prisoner of conscience”
But the Navalny affair still holds many surprises. This week a scandal broke out after Amnesty International decided stop considering Alexeï Navalny as a “prisoner of conscience”. This decision comes after the hate speech transmitted by the opponent in the past. However, the NGO continues to demand his release.
In fact, in the 2000s, Alexeï Navalny used to make racist comments, especially to criticize immigrants from Central Asia or the Russian Muslim republics. If he has since mollified his speech, he has nevertheless never apologized for these statements.
Navalny’s relatives accused Amnesty International of having given in to a campaign of provocation. This Friday they again accused the NGO of playing “Voluntary assistants to the dictator.”