BREAKING: Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Died In Penal Colony (UPDATED)

World » RUSSIA | February 16, 2024, Friday // 13:20
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Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny died in the IK-3 penal colony in Yamal-Nenets region in Russia. The statement from the penal facility reads that Navalny lost consciousness after a walk, resuscitation was carried out but did not yield positive results.

Alexei Navalny, Russia's prominent opposition figure and a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, has died in a prison located within the Arctic Circle, according to Russian news agencies citing the prison service.

Navalny, known as Putin's most outspoken adversary, was serving a lengthy 19-year prison sentence on charges widely viewed as politically motivated. His transfer to an Arctic penal colony, renowned for its harsh conditions, occurred late last year.

"Russian opposition leader Navalny felt sick during a walk, fainted and died quickly after that", as per the Russian prison services statement.

This comes two days after Navalny's press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, announced that Navalny had been sent to the penal isolation cell (solitary confinement, or ШИЗО, as it is abbreviated in Russian) for the 27th time since he was in prison.

The prison service in the Yamalo-Nenets region, where Navalny was held, has announced that it is investigating the circumstances surrounding his death, as reported by TASS news agency.

Navalny's demise marks a significant blow to the opposition movement in Russia and has raised concerns about the treatment of political prisoners in the country.

The Kremlin says that Putin has been informed of Navalny's death, adding that they have no information on what caused his death

The 45-year-old Navalny has long been a thorn in the side of the Kremlin, exposing high-level corruption and organizing large-scale anti-government protests. His arrest and subsequent imprisonment sparked international condemnation and calls for his release.

Despite facing numerous legal challenges and multiple assassination attempts, Navalny remained steadfast in his criticism of Putin's regime and continued to rally support for democratic reform in Russia.

The presidential elections in Russia are scheduled for March 15-17. The current president, who has been in power since 2000, looks almost certain to win again after his opponents, led by Navalny, have been jailed or forced to emigrate in recent years amid a wave of crackdowns.

Chronology of his incarcerations

Navalny has repeatedly complained about the conditions in the penal colony, directly calling them torture. The Kremlin critic reported that he was deprived of sleep, denied medical care and deliberately placed in a cell with a convicted murderer who suffered from serious illnesses and poor personal hygiene. He was also not allowed any contact with his defenders or relatives.

In September 2023 the court in Russia sentenced the oppositionist to 19 years in prison.

In December, he was transferred to a penal colony beyond the Arctic Circle. His location was unknown for weeks. Alexei Navalny said he was "fine" after a "quite grueling" 20-day transfer to a penal colony in the Russian Far North, 1,900 kilometers from the Russian capital. The "Polar Wolf" colony is considered one of the Russian prisons with the harshest conditions. Previously, the oppositionist was in a penal colony in the Vladimir region, about 250 kilometers east of Moscow.

In January, the dissident was sent to solitary confinement because, when a guard asked him to identify himself, he did not do so according to procedures.

Navalny was arrested in January 2021 on his surprise return to Russia from Germany, where he was receiving treatment after a poisoning attempt. According to him, the assassination attempt was organized by the Russian special services. In February 2021, the court suspended Navalny's previous sentence - imprisonment for alleged financial fraud. In March 2022, the opposition figure was sentenced to 9 years in a maximum security penal colony on charges of embezzlement and contempt of court. Two months later, new charges were brought against Navalny, including "creating an extremist organization", and in October 2022 the list of charges was expanded to include "promoting terrorism" and "rehabilitating Nazism".

Who is Alexei Navalny?

Alexei Navalny - leader of the Russian opposition, lawyer and blogger, who persistently fought corruption. Navalny's critical stance has involved him in more than one situation where his life was in danger.

The man who, for the past 12 years, has been repeating "Goodbye, Putin!". The son of a military man, a lawyer by training, with a degree at Yale, he entered Russian public life in 2008 because of his intransigence towards governance and his sharp tongue.

He is famous for his revealing articles about corruption schemes in enterprises. Three years later, he was among the first arrested at the anti-Putin protests.

Until 2014, Navalny was detained 7 times for organizing and participating in demonstrations. His political career was different from traditional parties.

His biography also includes a candidacy for mayor of Moscow. At the vote in 2013, he managed to win the support of almost 28% of voters. In 2016, he announced that he would run for president. Navalny was not allowed to run because of past convictions.

However, he remained true to his style - to criticize and expose. He an anti-corruption fund that collects data on corruption schemes. He didn't stop criticizing on social media either.

In his relations with the Kremlin, attacks and counterattacks alternate. He was detained many times. His offices were raided periodically. His latest punishment was last month, when he was banned from leaving Moscow for defamation.

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Tags: Navalny, Russia, opposition, prison

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