The imprisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been told in his penal colony that the attorney-client privilege no longer applies to his interaction with his lawyers. Here is how Navalny details the announcement on social media.
“They brought me out of my cell to the commission, where the administration solemnly announced: ‘It has been established that you continue your criminal activity, you are committing crimes directly from the prison facilities. And you communicate with your accomplices through lawyers. Therefore, we abolish the attorney-client privilege with regard to you. All incoming and outgoing lawyer documents will henceforth be subject to a three-day check’,” the post written on behalf of Navalny reads. “To my surprised question: ‘May I ask what terrible extremist crimes I am committing?’, they replied: ‘This is secret information, you are not allowed to know it, we will not give you the inspection materials. All you need to know is that the attorney-client privilege no longer applies to you.’
Not only that, but they also nailed down the tiny slot in the lawyer's room for the transfer of documents. So me and the lawyers now communicate through double plastic glass with bars inside. Our communication is now more like a pantomime, to be honest. How great. Now, if the lawyer wants to consult with me on a draft of a complaint against the colony, he has to give it to the colony itself, it will reach me three days later, and then it will take three more days to get back to him with my revisions. Very convenient. However, this leaves nothing of my right to a defense, which was already quite illusory. I do not know what has triggered the authorities so much: the 6,000 list, the Smart Voting, or the prisoners' union. All three of these things sound great to me.”
Early in September, the colony administration sent Navalny to a punishment cell for the fourth time, thus depriving him of family visits: “By the way, the pettiness of these crooks is something to be appreciated. My wife and parents have been waiting for an opportunity to visit me for four months, and now I’m being sent to strict regime where I only get a visit once every six months. So, I'm out of luck.” In his opinion, this is the Kremlin’s response to the Smart Vote and his calls for sanctions against Putin and his associates.
Navalny was sent to a punishment cell (SHU) for the first time on August 15. The formal reason was that Navalny had «regularly unbuttoned» the top button of his prison shirt while in the industrial zone. His second term in the SHU began on August 24, because he had allegedly failed to keep his hands behind his back for three seconds while being escorted to SHU the previous time. On August 30, Navalny ended up in the punishment cell for the third time, for “incorrectly introducing himself”.