Jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who was recently transferred to a remote penal colony in the Arctic, announced Tuesday that he has been placed in solitary confinement again for a week.
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He arrived at this new detention center in Yamalo-Nintsia at the end of December, at the end of a long transfer during which his relatives received no news, raising concerns abroad.
His supporters assert that the Russian authorities are seeking to further isolate him, in the period leading up to the presidential elections in March, after which Vladimir Putin's victory seems certain.
On Tuesday, Alexei Navalny announced on social media that he had been granted “seven days of isolation” because he did not identify himself correctly.
The measure was taken immediately after he “released from quarantine,” the date of which was not specified.
“The idea that Putin would be satisfied with the fact that he put me in a hut in the far north and that I would not be tortured in solitary confinement was not only cowardly, but also naive,” he said.
The 47-year-old activist, the Russian president's number one enemy, is serving a 19-year prison sentence on charges of “extremism.”
He was arrested in January 2021 upon returning from Russia from convalescing in Germany due to a case of poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin, and has since alternated stays in solitary confinement with fairly strict detention conditions.
This was his 24th stay in solitary confinement, for a total of 273 days, his spokeswoman, Kira Earmysh, said.
The colony where Navalny is currently being held, nicknamed the “Polar Wolf,” is an institution inherited from the Soviet labor camps.
The opponent posted a photo of the small, fenced prison yard where he could walk very early in the morning, when temperatures were very low.
Alexei Navalny, with a deliberately sarcastic tone in his messages, spoke of “the wonderful fresh air blowing in the courtyard despite the concrete wall,” noting that the temperature had not yet fallen below -32 degrees Celsius.
His time behind bars has already taken a toll on his health, according to his supporters, and the once flamboyant activist now appears emaciated and aged.
In Western countries, the conditions of his detention, especially its consequences on his physical condition, are the subject of strong condemnation.
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