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Navalny out of reach for 10 days straight, Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service claims he “left the Vladimir Region”

The associates and legal team of incarcerated Russian politician Alexei Navalny, who is serving a lengthy prison sentence in a penal colony in Melekhovo in the Vladimir Region, have been unable to contact him for ten straight days and are unaware of his whereabouts. A court in Vladimir postponed a hearing involving Navalny to December 18 as he had apparently “left the Vladimir region,” without specifying where he was transferred. The news was published on the Navalny Team's Telegram channel.

Vyacheslav Gimadi, head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation’s legal department, said that Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) is not guaranteeing Navalny's presence in court, which is a violation of his rights:

“In court, they read out the FSIN's information that Navalny left IK-6 outside the Vladimir Region. The FSIN did not say where exactly and where he is now. The FSIN does not ensure Navalny's participation in the court [proceedings], violating his right to defence and trial.”

The lawyer was informed that Navalny allegedly left the Vladimir Region as early as December 11, according to a tweet by spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh. She recalled that the politician's legal team had not seen Alexei since December 6:

“Alexei has ‘gone outside the Vladimir Region,’ the defence lawyer was told in court. Where exactly — we do not know. It apparently happened on 11 December.
I remind you that the lawyers haven’t seen Alexei since December 6. We don’t know why they weren’t allowed to meet with him if Alexei was still in IK-6.”

According to the Telegram channel SotaVision, during the hearing, the court read out a statement from the Federal Penitentiary Service dated December 12, which claimed that Navalny had left for a correctional facility outside the Vladimir Region “in accordance with the Moscow City Court's verdict of August 4, 2024, which has entered into force.” The court also specified that Navalny's arrival would be reported in accordance with current legislation.

The session was postponed to December 18 “until the whereabouts of Navalny Alexei Anatolievich would be clarified.”

Several days ago, when asked whether the Kremlin was aware of Navalny's whereabouts, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov replied that the Kremlin had “neither the intention nor the ability to monitor the fate of prisoners and the process of their stay in the relevant institutions.”

On December 11, Navalny's lawyer at the IK-6 penal colony was told that the politician was no longer listed there as a prisoner. The prison authorities refused to say where he had been transferred. According to spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, Navalny collapsed in his cell after feeling dizzy in early December, and was administered an IV [intravenous drip — translator’s note]. Communication with Navalny ceased after the incident — he was no longer connected to court hearings via video link, nor did he send or receive correspondence from his legal team or associates.

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