According to a CNN report, the lawyers of jailed Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, have not heard from him for around a week and his name is also missing from the list of the prisoners.
Navalny had been ‘removed’ from the penal colony where he had been imprisoned since 2022.
Sources closes to the Putin critic added they were preparing for his expected transfer to a ‘special regime’ colony after he was sentenced in August to an additional 19 years in prison.
Navalny was sent to prison sentence on extremism charges and a court this summer ordered to move him to a harsher ‘special regime’ prison colony.
Russian authorities have criticized the United States Government for what it called ‘interference’ in Navalny’s case.
‘We are talking about a prisoner who was found guilty by the law and is serving the prison sentence he received. Any interference, including from the US, is unacceptable,’ a spokesman for the Kremlin told media.
Navalny also was also reported to be suffering from acute stomach ailments. Doctors and analysts had alleged that he might have been ‘poisoned’ by authorities.
Navalny’s disappearance came to light when staff at the IK-6 facility in Melekhovo had told his lawyer that the opposition leader was no longer among its inmates, according to Navalny’s spokesperson.
On Tuesday, the spokesperson wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter:
‘Today Alexei was again not brought to court to appear by video link, but now nobody is talking nonsense about an ‘electricity accident’. An employee of penal colony-6 stated that Alexei Navalny had ‘left their colony, but that he allegedly did not know where he had been transferred to,’ she claimed.
Navalny’s disappearance comes as President Vladimir Putin announced he will run for a fifth term in March.
‘He’s now been gone for allegedly a week and neither his representatives or his family know where he is,’ US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
‘He should be released immediately, he should never have been jailed in the first place,’ Kirby told media travelling with US President Joe Biden aboard Air Force One.
Kirby added that Washington was going to work with the US embassy in Moscow to look into Navalny’s possible location.
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