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Navalny ‘Left’ Prison for Unknown Location, Lawyer Says

Alexei Navalny seen during a September 2023 court hearing. Tatyana Makeyeva / AFP

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been moved from the prison where he was being held in central Russia to an unknown location, his lawyer said Friday, citing a court document.

Navalny's allies say he “went missing” 10 days ago and they have been unable to establish contact with him ever since. 

A court in the Vladimir region, where the opposition activist was serving a jail sentence on fraud charges, provided a statement from Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service that said Navalny “left” the penal colony there, according to his lawyer Vyacheslav Gimadi. 

“They don’t say where exactly he was taken and where he is now,” Gimadi wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

In August, a Moscow court sentenced Navalny to 19 years in a “special-regime” colony on charges of creating an organization that undermined public safety through “extremist activities.”

He has been absent from several court hearings in recent weeks, with his allies warning that his “life is at great risk” after a “serious health-related incident.”

The independent news outlet Sotavision, also citing a document provided by the Vladimir region court, reported that Navalny was taken to a “correction facility outside the Vladimir region as part of a Moscow City Court verdict that entered into force on Aug. 4.”

“Notification of Navalny’s arrival [to the new prison] will be given within the framework of current legislation,” read the document cited by Sotavision.

A scheduled court hearing for the jailed activist was postponed until Monday, or “until Navalny’s whereabouts are established,” the statement added.

Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said his transfer may have taken place on Monday, while his lawyers have been refused access to him since Dec. 6 for unspecified reasons.

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