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“Space journey continues”: Navalny wrote first letter from new penal colony

Alexei Navalny confirmed he had been transferred to maximum-security penal colony No. 6 in the Vladimir region. A letter has been posted to Navalny’s social media pages which says the oppositionist is now under quarantine in penal colony No. 6 aka “Melekhovo” and describes what he has seen there.

“The space journey continues – I’ve moved from one spaceship to another. That is to say, hello to everyone from a supermax facility. Yesterday I was transported to penal colony No. 6 ”Melekhovo“. I am under quarantine, so there is not much to tell. Well, here are just two fresh impressions. About cultural life and lawlessness.
About cultural life: I almost lost it when I was carrying my books to/from the prison van. And the prison guards almost lost it while registering them. And this despite the fact that, in anticipation of such a situation, I had managed to persuade the administration to accept 50 of my books for the prison library a month ago. Honestly, yesterday was the first time in my life when I had a thought, while carrying those bags, that burning the books would not necessarily be a bad thing.
About lawlessness: there’s a notice hanging on the wall in the quarantine section with a list of professions you can get here and the duration of training. So, it takes 3 months to become, as I did, a seamstress - the elite of the working class, capable of instantly distinguishing a linen stitch from a cuff stitch. But see, should a person choose the profession of ”poultry carcass deboner“ they will also need to study for 3 months! That is, in this sense, they will be equal to us, seamstresses. What do they need those three months for? Will they learn to roll those carcasses in rhinestones or what?
Outrageous! Well, otherwise so far so good. Regards to all, hugs to all, eat chicken meat unbreaded.”

The day before, on June 14, Sergei Yazhan, chairman of the regional Public Oversight Commission, said Navalny had been transferred to a maximum-security penal colony.

In May Navalny himself wrote he might be transferred to penal colony No. 6 in Melekhovo.

Penal colony No. 6 (IK-6) is known for reports of prisoner torture. For example, in 2021, Pavel Zotov, who served his sentence in the Vladimir region’s penal colonies from 2009 to 2021, claimed he had been tortured. He recounted that in Correctional Colony 6 inmates wearing police garb put him on the floor, undressed him, tied his hands and feet and beat him in the groin with a truncheon. In December 2021, inmate Zhobir Zhuraev, 27, described how guards and inmates cooperating with the administration systematically beat, tortured, starved, and threatened to rape him.

On July 14, Alexei Navalny’s press secretary Kira Yarmysh reported that the ACF founder had been transferred from penal colony No. 2 in Pokrov.

“The lawyer who came to see him was held at the colony entrance until 2 p.m., and was told there was no such inmate. Where Alexei is now and where they are taking him, we do not know,” she wrote.

According to Yarmysh, neither the lawyers nor Alexei’s relatives were informed in advance about his transfer.

“The problem with the transfer to another colony is not only that a high-security colony is much scarier. All the time we don’t know where Alexei is, he is face to face with the system that has already tried to kill him. So, we need to find him as soon as possible,” Yarmysh wrote.

Navalny was sent to a penal colony after the Simonovsky district court changed his suspended sentence in the “Yves Rocher” case to a real one of 3.5 years in prison in early February. The formal reason was that the oppositionist failed to report to the penal commission on the appointed days, and since August 2020, after being poisoned with Novichok and transported to Germany, he stopped showing up at the inspector’s office altogether.

Navalny and his lawyers assured the court that the oppositionist could not have physically visited the inspector as he had been treated, first as an inpatient and then as an outpatient, in a German clinic, of which he had notified the penitentiary inspectorate.

On March 22 the court sentenced Alexey Navalny to 9 years of strict regime in the “fraud and contempt of court” case. The Lefortovo court session took place right in the penal colony IK2 in Pokrov, where Navalny was serving his sentence in the “Yves Rocher” case. The prosecutor Nadezhda Tikhonova had asked for 13 years in a strict regime penal colony. A day earlier, Vladimir Putin promoted the judge who handled Navalny’s case.

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