Jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny said on social media on Friday that he had been informed of new criminal charges against him:
“I unwrap the letter from the State Investigative Committee: ‘I inform you that a criminal case has been opened against you for a crime under Part 2 of Article 214 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. 2 episodes.’
It means that they really initiate a new criminal case against me every 3 months. Rarely an inmate, confined to a solitary cell for over a year, has such a vibrant social and political existence. I have no idea what article 214 is, and there's nowhere to look. You'll know about it before I do,” Navalny wrote.
Article 214 of the Russian Criminal Code (“vandalism motivated by hatred”) carries a punishment of the restriction of freedom for up to three years, compulsory labour for up to three years, or imprisonment for the same period.
As reported by independent publication Mediazona, the new case against Navalny is likely related to graffiti: in August, Russia’s State Investigative Committee charged two people who were prosecuted for graffiti in support of the politician with taking part in an “extremist organisation.”
Artemy Perevozchikov, a 19-year-old student from Izhevsk, and Sergei Streknev, a 42-year-old smelter from Rybinsk, are now in pre-trial detention in Moscow. Streknev is charged with the same vandalism charge as Navalny, in addition to the extremist charge. During the hearing on the extension of Streknev's detention in October, it emerged that the case was being handled by investigator Roman Vidyukov, who has been involved in cases involving Alexei Navalny and his associates.
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.
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).
Last month, three of Navalny’s lawyers were placed on a register of “terrorists and extremists,” five weeks after being arrested on suspicion of belonging to an “extremist group.”