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Russian opposition chief Navalny fails to look in court docket as allies seek for him in jail system

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Allies of the imprisoned Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny stated they have been trying to find him for a thirteenth day after he failed to look in court docket Monday.

Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh wrote on X, previously referred to as Twitter, that Navalny had a number of hearings scheduled, a few of which have been suspended after the politician who’s President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest foe couldn’t be situated to take part in particular person or by video hyperlink.

The whereabouts of Navalny, 47, have been unknown since his attorneys misplaced contact with him after Dec. 6. They consider he’s intentionally being hidden after Putin introduced his candidacy in Russia’s March presidential election, which the longtime chief is nearly sure to win.

“Alexei is Putin’s essential opponent although his identify received’t be on the poll,” Yarmysh advised The Related Press. “They’ll do every thing they will to isolate him.”

Navalny’s staff has launched a marketing campaign to encourage Russians to boycott the election or vote for an additional candidate.

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Allies stated a protection lawyer was advised in court docket on Dec. 15 that Navalny had been moved from the penal colony east of Moscow the place he was serving a 19-year time period on prices of extremism, however the lawyer was not advised the place Navalny was taken.

Yarmysh advised the AP that Navalny’s staff had written to greater than 200 pretrial detention facilities and particular jail colonies in addition to checked all detention facilities in Moscow in particular person in an effort to discover the opposition chief.

Though a choose suspended Monday’s court docket proceedings for an indefinite interval after Navalny couldn’t be situated, that doesn’t imply judicial officers will discover him, Yarmysh stated.

“The court docket merely relieved itself of duty for administering justice,” she stated.

Navalny’s allies sounded the alarm after his attorneys weren’t let into Penal Colony No. 6, the jail about 230 kilometers (140 miles) east of Moscow the place he was serving his sentence, after Dec. 6. The attorneys additionally stated that letters to him weren’t being delivered there and that Navalny was not showing at scheduled court docket hearings by way of video hyperlink.

Yarmysh stated earlier this month that these developments induced concern as a result of Navalny had just lately fallen in poor health and apparently fainted “out of starvation.” She stated he was being “disadvantaged of food, saved in a cell with out air flow and has been supplied minimal outside time.”

He was as a consequence of be transferred to a “particular safety” penal colony, a facility with the best safety stage within the Russian penitentiary system.

Russian jail transfers are infamous for taking a very long time, typically weeks, throughout which there’s no entry to prisoners, with details about their whereabouts restricted or unavailable. Navalny might be transferred to any of a variety of such penal colonies throughout Russia.

Navalny has been behind bars in Russia since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow after recuperating in Germany from nerve agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin. Earlier than his arrest, he campaigned in opposition to official corruption and arranged main anti-Kremlin protests.

He has since obtained three jail phrases and spent months in isolation in Penal Colony No. 6 for alleged minor infractions. He has rejected all prices in opposition to him as politically motivated.

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