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HomeWorld NewsPutin rival Alexei Navalny 'missing' from prison ahead of Russia's presidential election,...

Putin rival Alexei Navalny ‘missing’ from prison ahead of Russia’s presidential election, his team says

New Delhi: Jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been moved from the penal colony where he had been serving his sentence since the middle of last year and his current whereabouts are unknown, his aides said on Monday.

Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh told his lawyer that staff at the IK-6 facility in Melekhovo, 235 km east of Moscow, said the opposition leader was no longer among the prisoners there, news agency Reuters reported.

“They refused to say where they took him,” he said on Platform X.

According to Reuters, his aides were preparing for his expected transfer to a “special regime” colony, the harshest grade in Russia’s prison system, after he was sentenced in August to an additional 19 years in prison on top of the 11 years he was already serving. Went. -He had already been serving for half a year.

He was found guilty of creating extremist communities, financing extremist activities and several other crimes. According to CNN, he was already serving an 11-and-a-half-year sentence in a maximum security facility on fraud and other charges, which he denies.

However, the process of transporting prisoners by rail across Russia’s vast territory can take weeks, as lawyers and families are unable to obtain information about their location and well-being until they reach their destination. It was not clear whether Navalny had already been transferred to a new prison, Reuters reported.

The United States said it was extremely concerned by Navalny’s disappearance.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said, “He should be released immediately. He should never have gone to prison in the first place.”

Meanwhile, Navalny’s ally Leonid Volkov posted on X that the timing of his disappearance was “0% coincidence and 100% direct manual political control from the Kremlin.”

He said, “It is no secret for Putin who his main opponent is in these ‘elections’. And he wants to make sure that Navalny’s voice is not heard.”

Navalny’s disappearance comes at the start of the presidential election campaign period in which Vladimir Putin confirmed on Friday that he will stand for another six-year term.

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