– Navalny continues to disappear – the court suspends the proceedings
The whereabouts of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny remain a mystery. Therefore, the court stopped the proceedings. Navalny’s lawyers complain that Russian laws are being ignored.
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who disappeared in custody nearly two weeks ago, failed to appear again at a court hearing on Monday.
Navalny’s team said the judge in the Vladimir region suspended the proceedings until the politician’s whereabouts were clarified. Opposition lawyers criticized the court for violating Russian law. “The judge simply abandoned the duty to dispense justice instead of ensuring the plaintiff’s appearance,” Navalny’s lawyers said.
There has been no trace since the beginning of December
Navalny, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison for, among other things, alleged extremism, has repeatedly filed lawsuits against the prison system for violating his rights. Since the beginning of last December, there has been no trace of the most vocal opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Alexey should have had seven court hearings today,” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said Monday. There is great concern for the 47-year-old man because he is in poor health.
Prison staff again simply told the court that Navalny was no longer at the IK-6 concentration camp, about 260 kilometers east of Moscow in the Vladimir region. However, there is no further information about his whereabouts. Navalny’s lawyers also accused the prison system of lying because staff recently stated that the politician would not be in touch with court proceedings via video for technical reasons.
When the judge asked why Navalny was transferred from the camp, representatives of the prison system replied: “To serve his sentence.” “Over the weekend, lawyers conducted inquiries in more than 200 pretrial detention centers. We are waiting for answers,” said Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s employee.
Kremlin opponents around Navalny also started the “Russia Without Putin” campaign at the beginning of December, in which they called on voters ahead of the presidential election on March 17 to express their protest by voting for other candidates. Putin is participating in the vote for the fifth time, and he considers that potential rivals have no chance.
Navalny, who also survived an assassination attempt with the Novichok nerve agent in 2020, has been imprisoned for nearly three years. He was internationally recognized as a political prisoner.