(Portal) – Jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny said on Monday prison authorities had thrown him in a punishment cell for a minor infraction after he tried to encourage fellow inmates to form a union.
Navalny, the most vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin in Russia, is serving an 11-1/2 year prison sentence after being found guilty of violating probation, fraud and disregarding charges in court. He says all charges were fabricated to land him in prison to thwart his political ambitions.
The 46-year-old, who returned to Russia in 2021 from Germany, where he had been treated after Western laboratory tests showed it was an attempt to poison him with a Soviet-era nerve agent in Siberia, was transferred to a maximum-security prison in June relocated. Security penal colony farther from Moscow. Russia denies trying to kill him.
On Monday, in a post organized through his lawyers and supporters, he said on Twitter that he was initially put in a punishment cell for three days for regularly unbuttoning the top button of his prison uniform, which he said was several Sizes had small for him.
Navalny is said to be in the IK-6 penal colony Melekhovo near Vladimir, about 250 km east of Moscow.
Initially, there was no comment from the prison authorities.
“The single cell is a 2.5 x 3 meter concrete cage. Most of the time it is unbearable there because it is cold and damp. There is water on the floor. I have the beach version – it is very hot and there is almost no air,” Navalny wrote.
“The window is tiny, but the walls are too thick for air flow – even the cobwebs don’t move. There is no ventilation. At night you lie there and feel like a fish on the shore. At 5 a.m. they take away your mattress and pillows…and raise your bunk. At 9 p.m., the bunk is lowered again and the mattress is returned. There’s an iron table, an iron bench, a sink, a hole in the floor, and two cameras in the ceiling.”
The story goes on
Navalny said he expected a visit from his relatives in September, but such visits are not allowed for people in solitary confinement.
“So you’re saying that if I don’t reconsider my hiring, it will become my permanent residence,” he wrote.
(Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Hugh Lawson)