Alexey Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader, Vanishes from Russian Penal Colony!

Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader currently serving a 19-year prison sentence, has vanished from the penal colony where he was believed to be held, his lawyers reported on Monday

by Faruk Imamovic
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Alexey Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader, Vanishes from Russian Penal Colony!
© Getty Images News/Omer Messinger

Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader currently serving a 19-year prison sentence, has vanished from the penal colony where he was believed to be held, his lawyers reported on Monday. This development raises serious concerns about his safety and the political motives behind his detention.

Navalny, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was convicted of creating an extremist community, financing extremist activities, and other charges, which he denies. His supporters have long maintained that his arrest and subsequent imprisonment are efforts to silence his dissent.

Unanswered Questions and International Reactions

Kira Yarmysh, Navalny's spokesperson, shared on X, a social media platform, that lawyers have unsuccessfully tried to locate Navalny in two penal colonies, IK-6 and IK-7.

"On Friday and throughout today, neither IK-6 nor IK-7 responded to them," Yarmysh posted. The concern deepened as Navalny had been missing for six days, with his last known location being the IK-6 penal colony.
The White House expressed its alarm over Navalny's disappearance.

John Kirby, US National Security Council spokesman, emphasized the urgency of the situation aboard Air Force One: “He should be released immediately. He should never have been jailed in the first place, and we’re going to work with our embassy in Moscow to see how much more we can find out”.

Adding to the mystery, Navalny was expected to appear in court via video link on Monday, but prison authorities cited an electricity issue in the prison as the reason for his absence. Yarmysh voiced concerns over Navalny's health, citing an incident last week where he became dizzy and collapsed in his cell.

"The fact that we cannot find Alexey is especially alarming because last week he became ill in his cell," she said. This incident, described as a possible "hungry faint," occurred in a context of alleged deprivation of food and minimal walking time.

Navalny's disappearance coincides with Putin's announcement to run for president again in Russia's elections in March 2024, a move that could extend his power until at least 2030

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