Putin critic Alexei Navalny held in new prison with culture of ‘beatings and torture’

Alexei Navalny, the Russian anti-corruption activist, has tweeted an update on his time behind bars after being moved to a new prison.

The critic of Vladimir Putin was sentenced – in a case that Amnesty International described as a “sham” – to nine years in prison on embezzlement and contempt of court charges in March.

That was on top of a two-and-a-half-year sentence for allegedly violating the conditions of his parole while outside Russia. Navalny was arrested in January 2021 after returning from Germany, where he had been recuperating from nerve-agent poisoning he blamed on Russian authorities.

After his latest appeal was rejected, Navalny, 46, was transferred earlier this month to the maximum-security IK-6 prison in the Vladimir region village of Melekhovo, about 155 miles east of Moscow.

On Tuesday, Mr Navalny tweeted that he had already received a reprimand after just a week at what he described as “my new cozy high-security prison”.

Navalny appears in court via video-link in May 2022

The punishment was for a “made-up report” from his last prison saying that he had “violated the dress code” by visiting the “washroom wearing a T-shirt instead of a prison jumpsuit”.

He added: “Just so you understand: at 6:30 in the morning all the convicts wash and shave, and everyone goes to the washroom wearing a T-shirt. But I went there dangerously! I went there as an extremist, and my T-shirt was threatening the current government.”

The new maximum-security prison had a culture of “reports, reprimands, and rewards” as well as “beatings and torture,” he also said.

Mr Navalny said: “If the administration loves you, you get constant encouragement, and that means receiving parcels and visits.

“If they don’t like you, they’ll come up with violations, write reports on them, and reprimand you.

“Two reprimands, and you’re sent to the punishment cell, where you could easily die of ‘pneumonia’ or break your neck falling from the bed, and someone will get rewarded for this in the form of a visit from his mom.”

Two days later, on Thursday, he continued tweeting to describe his time in the new prison where he said he was surrounded by murderers in an isolated “unit”.

Mr Navalny said: “Who are my fellow prisoners? I get asked that a lot.

“I’m a part of a small group (called a “unit” here) of convicts in an area completely isolated from the rest of the colony. A prison within a prison with an insane and unbearable regime. I’ll write more about this later.

“But the convicts are nice. They are calm and friendly. When I came in, I immediately thought they were murderers. And I was right.

“Almost all of them are murderers. Their sentences are huge. Here my 9 years is the shortest sentence, and I’m like a pre-schooler. The average term here is 13-15 years. Some got 19 or 20. These are double murderers.

“It’s easier to do time with people who have long sentences. There’s less fuss, less petty conflicts. Although, of course, they are very, very dependent on the administration. If your term is 15 years, then parole, which will shorten it by 5 years, is a life priority.

“And of course (that’s a bonus for me) you could write a book about any of them. Each one has his personal drama, a tragedy with a victim. A fate shattered because of passions or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“It’s all very interesting. And very scary too. You better not kill anyone, please. You’ll spend a long time in jail, and there’s no point in it at all. By the way, here’s a tip: stay away from knives when you drink [wink emoji].

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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