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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said he was placed in solitary confinement, possibly because he founded a one-man federation last week in the penal colony where he was imprisoned. Via Twitter, a Kremlin critic says conditions in the 2.5 x 3 meter cell are poor. “It is very hot and there is almost no fresh air.”
Last week, Navalny revealed that he had formed a union for his fellow inmates, of which he was the only member at the moment. In his words, in this capacity he was able to replace the seats in the room where the prisoners had to do sewing work with chairs with backs.
“The road from union confinement to solitary confinement was shorter than I thought,” the opposition leader said on Twitter. Officially, according to him, the prison administration gave another reason for solitary confinement: Navalny regularly unbuttons the top button of his prison coat, and this would be a violation of the dress code.
The 46-year-old Russian said, last night, that he is now in isolation for three days and that he will have to stay there permanently if he does not change his position. “It’s not clear what the situation is,” he says. Against forced labor? Or against Putin?
And Navalny has been imprisoned since June in the IK-6 penal camp, about 250 kilometers east of Moscow. Before that, he had been in another criminal colony in the same area for over a year.
The leader of the Russian opposition calls the so-called “Special Housing Unit” (SHU) since in isolation there is now the most severe punishment in the prison system. The window will be small and it will not be possible to ventilate or circulate air. “Even cobwebs don’t move.”
“There is an iron table, an iron bench, a sink, a hole in the floor and two cameras in the ceiling,” Navalny said, describing his residence as a “concrete dog house.” He could only get a mattress and a pillow between 9pm and 5am.
Prison officials have yet to comment on Navalny’s comments. Last week, the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti wrote about the “unacceptable” trade union activities of the opposition leader. He would have received an official warning of that.
NOS op 3 made this video about Navalny last year:
Navalny has been imprisoned since his arrest at a Moscow airport in January. Then he was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison because, according to the Russian authorities, he did not comply with the reporting obligation that had been previously imposed on him.
When the opposition leader was arrested, he had just returned from Germany. There he spent months in hospital recovering from a nerve gas attack. According to research group Bellingcat, Russian intelligence was behind the attack.
Navalny must now be imprisoned for longer than the aforementioned 2.5 years. This is because he was also sentenced to nine years in prison last March for widespread fraud and contempt of court.
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