The United States has asked for the immediate release of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is in solitary confinement in a Russian prison camp. The US government thus joins the demands of Navalny’s relatives, colleagues and supporters for his release. Ned Price, spokesman for the United States Department of State reported this Friday (local time).
The US is very concerned about the Russian government’s treatment of Navalny, Price says. Russian prison authorities have interfered with Navalny’s preparation for his defense and communications with his lawyer, Price said in a statement. He also said Navalny has been repeatedly placed in solitary confinement for minor alleged violations.
On Wednesday, Navalny tweeted that he would have to spend 15 days in solitary confinement, the fourth time that has happened in the prison camp in Melechovo. On Thursday, he announced that he could no longer have confidential contact with his lawyer. All correspondence and consultation with his legal advisers is controlled by the prison administration. On Twitter, where Navalny posts through his lawyers, the Kremlin critic wrote that authorities are refusing to say why they took that measure.
Navalny is the main political opponent of President Vladimir Putin in Russia. In mid-August, he called on the West from his prison cell to impose tougher sanctions on Russian oligarchs.
Navalny is serving a nine-year prison sentence for fraud: the man is regarded by many as a political prisoner, his conviction as politically motivated. On January 17, 2021, Navalny was arrested in Moscow. He had just returned from Germany, where he was recovering from a poison attack with the nerve agent novichok by what is believed to be the Russian secret service in Siberia. He barely survived the attack. The opposition leader was paroled after controversial convictions in an old corruption case. But according to justice, he violated the conditions for his release with the trip to Germany.
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