Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said Monday that he risks being sent to “torture-like” solitary confinement after he received several reprimands at a notoriously harsh penal colony.
Navalny, 44, is serving a sentence of two and a half years for violating parole in an old fraud case while recovering abroad from poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.
In his latest social media update, Navalny said administrators at Penal Colony No. 2 east of Moscow handed him six reprimands over two weeks. The prison camp outside the Vladimir region town of Pokrov is infamous for psychological isolation and harsh conditions for inmates.
Navalny added that he faces 20 more reprimands for infractions that include “getting up 10 minutes before wake-up” and “wearing a T-shirt at a meeting with lawyers.” Another colony where Navalny had been held for a two-week coronavirus quarantine issued four reprimands in two weeks.
“You get two reprimands and can go to solitary confinement, which is an unpleasant thing with conditions that are close to torture,” Navalny wrote.
The reprimands mean that President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal domestic critic is no longer eligible for early parole, his lawyer said last week. Navalny’s lawyers have raised concerns over his health in recent days and he himself has shared fears of losing his leg due to prison authorities’ inaction.
The politician’s latest update from the penal colony he has called “a real concentration camp 100 kilometers from Moscow” was accompanied by his first prison photo.
Navalny’s imprisonment in January immediately after his return to Russia from Germany, where he was treated for poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent, sparked mass nationwide protests, outcry from rights groups and condemnation from the West.
Navalny Says Novichok Found ‘In and On’ His Body
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Monday that Western laboratories had found traces of a Novichok nerve agent in and on his body and demanded that Moscow return his clothes.
Navalny, who is recovering in Berlin’s Charite clinic, fell violently ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20. He spent two days in hospital in Russia before being airlifted to Germany.
“Two independent laboratories in France and Sweden and the Bundeswehr specialized laboratory confirmed the presence of Novichok in and on my body,” he said in his first blog post since emerging from a coma, referring to a German military lab.
He noted that Russia had still not opened an investigation and that Russian talk shows had suggested that Western intelligence officials or his own allies carried out the attack.
“I did not expect anything else,” he wrote.
He also demanded that Russian authorities return his clothes that were removed before he was flown to Germany — “totally naked” — saying they were important evidence.
“Taking into account that Novichok was found on my body, and poisoning through physical contact is highly likely, my clothes are a very important piece of evidence,” he wrote.
“I demand my clothes be carefully packed in a plastic bag and returned to me.”
In a separate post on Instagram, he published a picture with his wife of 20 years, Yulia, saying he remembered little of his illness but that she had helped his recovery.
“Now I definitely know from experience: love heals and brings you back to life,” he said.
“Yulia, you have saved me, and let it go down in neurobiology textbooks.”
Navalny supporters and European leaders have said that the poisoning using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, points to a state-sanctioned attack.
The Kremlin has dismissed the claims as “absurd.”