Russia’s Investigative Committee recently revealed that it intends to carry out “urgent investigative actions” in relation to Alexei Navalny, telling him to seek legal counsel after three of his lawyers were arrested last week, and the fourth stopped communicating with him.
Here is Navalny's account of the situation during a court hearing regarding his lawsuits against the prison colony:
“I don't really understand what's going on. My lawyer is not here, all the other lawyers are not here, no one comes to me. On Friday night, I received information that there were searches, yesterday I received information that three [of my] lawyers were arrested. Of course, these actions are blatant, demonstratively lawless. At the moment, frankly speaking, I do not really understand what my position should be on this trial and on all other issues.
Today, the Investigative Committee sent me a dispatch that ‘investigative actions will be urgently carried out’ with my participation, with the beautiful and mocking addition: ‘If you don’t have a lawyer, please take action to find one.’ And what actions can I take, if I don’t even understand what’s happening with my lawyers, no one’s allowed to come here, I don’t know anything, I am completely isolated from information — I cannot hear what is happening in our country even on Radio Mayak. I consider what is happening to be absolute lawlessness, I believe that my lawyers are being persecuted for their professional activities.”
A few days earlier, Moscow Basmanny District Court remanded three of Navalny's lawyers — Vadim Kobzev, Igor Sergunin and Alexei Liptser — to remain in pre-trial detention until December 13. They are accused of “participation in an extremist community.”
Yesterday, Navalny's Team reported that the politician’s fourth lawyer, Alexander Fedulov, had stopped contacting them. In a post on Instagram published later on Monday, he revealed that had left the country.
“The situation is strange. The arrest of our colleagues who defended Navalny has made significant adjustments to the work of the remaining free defenders. The huge amount of work, the number of courts and today's situation has led to the need for adjustments in the further defense of our client’s interests. This was the reason for the need to leave the Russian Federation. Thank you all very much for worrying, writing and calling,” Fedulov wrote.
On August 4, the Moscow City Court sentenced Navalny to 19 years in a “special regime” penal colony after finding him guilty of financing extremism, the creation of an extremist community, and inciting extremism.
Navalny is currently incarcerated in Penal Colony No. 6 in Melekhovo, located in Russia’s Vladimir Region. On September 22, reports confirmed that the politician had been transferred to the punishment isolation cell (SHIZO) for the twentieth time.
On September 27, Navalny revealed that he will be transferred to a single cell-type facility (abbreviated as EPKT) for 12 months due to his “incorrigibility.” This is the strictest possible punishment in any Russian prison. Previously, as Navalny pointed out, he had already been sentenced to SUON (strict conditions of serving a sentence), SHIZO (punishment isolator), and PKT (cell-type room).
Previously, The Insider had reported on the existence of EPKT-31, located within Colony No. 31 in the Krasnoyarsk Region. This facility sees the passage of up to 200 individuals each year, almost all of whom are brutally tortured. Legal representatives face challenges in accessing clients within the facility — a “prison within a prison” — and they are intimidated beforehand not to tell about what happens within the walls of the EPKT.