Putin-foe Alexei Navalny vanishes from prison amid fears he has been transferred to maximum security jail notorious for beatings and rape weeks after losing appeal against nine year sentence
- The Kremlin critic has gone ‘missing’ from his current jail after new jail sentence
- He has allegedly been sent to the maximum security penal colony at Melekhovo
- There have been allegations of systematic torture and sexual violence there
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has gone missing from prison amid fears he has been sent to a dreaded ‘torture’ prison notorious for sexual violence and brutal beatings.
The Putin foe was not at his penal colony today when his lawyer arrived, with a guard telling the attorney: ‘There is no such convict here.’
Navalny’s spokesman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter: ‘We do not know where Alexei is now and what colony they are taking him to.’
She added that none of his relatives, friends or representatives were informed about the transfer amid the claims he has been moved to the strict regime maximum security penal colony at Melekhovo.
The move is linked to the start of a new nine year sentence seen as politically motivated by the Russian opposition and the West.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has gone missing from prison amid fears he has been sent to a dreaded ‘torture’ prison (pictured behind bars in court in January)
The Putin foe had gone ‘missing’ from his previous jail but today it was claimed he had been moved to the strict regime maximum security penal colony at Melekhovo (pictured)
Navalny has said that he wants to replace Putin, and believes he would win an election if it was not rigged in the Kremlin leader’s favour.
Independent media outlet Mediazona last year revealed allegations of systematic torture and sexual violence at the Melekhovo facility known as correctional colony No. 6.
It is in the same Vladimir region as his previous Pokrovskaya general regime colony, a two hour drive away.
The fact both jails are in a region with the same name as Putin is seen as reflecting the Kremlin leader’s sense of humour.
Former convict Ivan Fomin, then 29, claimed that the governor of the colony, Roman Sahakyan, had forced him to refuse a lawyer with threats.
The move to the jail hell (pictured) is linked to the start of a new nine year sentence seen as politically motivated
Navalny (pictured in the colony) is seen as the most charismatic Putin foe, and the Russian leader refuses even to mention his name
He was told that if he did not cooperate ‘they would rape me, and tie my legs and hands from behind.
‘I would lie down, and they would beat my heels and ass.
‘After that, if I did not confess, they would [rape] me with a [spade] handle, and then put this in my mouth.’
He witnessed another inmate being punched in the stomach and beaten with piping on his heels and bottom.
The prisoners was then ‘raped’ with the piping, which was later forced into his mouth, he said.
Navalny’s press secretary Kira Yarmysh has said that while torture is used on prisoners in many Russian colonies, this jail is ‘a monstrous place even by such insane standards.’
There had been numerous testimonies about the facility, she said.
There have been allegations of systematic torture and sexual violence at the facility known as correctional colony No. 6
In March, Navalny – who nearly lost his life when he was poisoned with novichok – was sentenced to nine years of strict regime prison for ‘fraud and insulting the court’.
The judge had been promoted by Vladimir Putin ahead of the sentence.
He is due to be moved to a stricter jail when the new sentence comes into force.
Navalny is seen as the most charismatic Putin foe, and the Russian leader refuses even to mention his name.
A lawyer, the opposition politician has relentlessly exposed alleged corruption in Putin’s circle.
Navalny says the case against him was fabricated.
He spoke out against the war in Ukraine, and vowed to ‘continue to fight the authorities’, declaring he was afraid of ‘neither the FSB, nor chemical weapons, nor Putin.’