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Alexey Navalny, Russian opposition leader, missing from prison, says his team

230622113958 01 navalny court 062223


Alexey Navalny, Russian opposition leader, missing from prison, says his team

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Alexei Navalny is seen on a TV screen as he appears by video link at a court hearing in Moscow on June 22, 2023.


Lawyers for Alexey Navalny said Monday they have lost contact with the jailed Russian opposition leader, who was believed to be imprisoned in a penal colony about 150 miles east of Moscow, and his whereabouts are unknown.

Navalny was sentenced to 19 years in prison in August, after he was found guilty of creating an extremist community, financing extremist activities and numerous other crimes. He was already serving sentences of 11-and-a-half years in a maximum security facility on fraud and other charges he denies.

Supporters of Navalny claim his arrest and incarceration are a politically motivated attempt to stifle his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lawyers have made several attempts to get access to two penal colonies where Navalny, who has suffered serious health issues, was believed to be, spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on X on Monday. They were informed that the 47-year-old was not at either the IK-6 or IK-7 penal colonies, Yarmysh added.

“On Friday and throughout today, neither IK-6 nor IK-7 responded to them,” Yarmysh posted, adding that Navalny had been missing for six days. Navalny was last imprisoned in the IK-6 penal colony east of Moscow.

Navalny posed one of the most serious threats to Putin’s legitimacy during his rule, which has spanned more than two decades.

The dissident was taken from Russia to Germany in 2020, after he was poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. Navalny had to be airlifted from the Siberian city of Omsk and arrived comatose at a hospital in Berlin.

A joint investigation by CNN and the group Bellingcat implicated the Russian Security Service (FSB) in Navalny’s poisoning. Russia denies involvement in Nalvany’s poising. Putin said in December 2020 that if the Russian security service had wanted to kill Navalny, they “would have finished” the job.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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