After secrecy about his whereabouts, its been revealed that Vladimir Putin critic Alexey Navalnyhas apparently been transferred to a Russian maximum-security prison renowned for torture and abuse.
Who is Alexey Navalny?
Navalny is the sole remaining Russian opposition leader and the most prominent critic of Vladimir Putin's regime. In March, a Moscow court sentenced Navalny to nine years in a maximum-security prison for fraud and contempt of court. According to The Guardian, Navalny claims the charges are politically motivated and an attempt, by the authorities, to keep him imprisoned for as long as possible.
On Tuesday 14 June, Sergei Yazhan, chairman of a prison monitoring commission, told Russia's state media outlet TASS that Navalny had been moved to the IK-6 prison in the village of Melekhovo in the Vladimir region. However, Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter that his team had still not received confirmation of his transfer to Melekhovo, as reported by CNN.
Lyudmila Romanova, the Vladimir region commissioner for human rights—a local government ombudsman—told TASS that the prison has a good reputation. However, according to The Guardian, IK-6 is infamous for torture and abuse. Furthermore, it is said that his rights to visits and correspondence will be reduced, as per Reuters.
A 'prison within a prison'
Navalny referred to the anticipated move in a Telegram post in May, writing:
My sentence has not yet entered into force, but the prisoners from the strict regime colony Melekhovo write that they are equipping a 'prison within a prison' for me.
Navalny's political network has been labelled an 'extremist' organisation. Two weeks ago, Navalny said that he had been charged in a new criminal case with creating an extremist organisation and inciting hatred towards the authorities, which could extend his sentence by 15 years.