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New criminal case against Navalny in the works following provocation with cellmate, says his lawyer

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Alexei Navalny will soon have another criminal case opened against him, says his lawyer Vadim Kobzev. According to Kobzev, Navalny fell prey to the provocation involving his cellmate, of which NAvalny's defense counsel had warned the day before.

Here is how Kobzev describes what happened:

“Yesterday, the administration of the penal colony where Navalny is serving his sentence staged the provocation about which he’d been earlier warned by a guard. I wrote about it on April 11.

When Navalny was being transferred from his work cell to his regular cell, he saw that his permanent cellmate, who appears to be a homeless person, had been brought in again, and in a completely animal state. The stench in the cell was so intense that one could barely enter. Navalny refused to go in and told the administration (into the CCTV camera) that a provocation against him is underway. Knowing that the unofficial prison code obliges him to subject his cellmate to violence and expel him from the cell, the administration was provoking him purposely to have grounds for criminal proceedings.

He declared his reluctance to show violence against the convict Tatarchenko (the “bum”) because the latter is also a tool in his prisoners’ hands.

So he refused to go into the cell, saying that if he were forced to enter, he would apply force to his cellmate immediately. He made a point of saying this on record.

In light of this, continued he, the law requires that the deputy head of the colony who is on duty (and present on the spot) acknowledge receipt of information regarding the threat to the inmate's health and take immediate steps to ensure his safety by moving him to a secure location.

This was not done. Instead, the deputy head of the colony for operative work and a group of operatives threatened Navalny and called a response unit clad in armored vests and helmets. Navalny was dragged into the cell.

Despite him not showing any resistance, he was kneed in the groin (which was also captured on video). In the cell, Navalny did not subject his cellmate to violence but grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and started pulling him to the door.

The response unit tackled him and pressed him to the wall. Then the colony administrators in attendance gleefully informed Navalny that a criminal case would be started against him under Criminal Code Art. 321 (disorganization of the activity of institutions providing isolation from society, punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years) and left to deal with the paperwork, taking the wretched “bum” with them.

Navalny's defense is outraged by this blatant, shameless, and cynical provocation. We demand an immediate response from the administration of the Federal Penitentiary Service and the Prosecutor’s Office.”

In early April, Navalny was reported to have lost eight kilos in 15 days and to be suffering from an untreated gastrointestinal condition. His lawyer didn’t rule out a possible poisoning attempt.

“Coming from someone else, this may sound like nonsense and paranoia, but not from Navalny with his history of Novichok poisoning,” said Kobzev.

On April 11, Navalny was reported to have been sent to the punishment cell for the 13th time – for 15 days. He’d only spent two days in his regular cell: Saturday and Sunday.

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