Jailed Russian politician Navalny says he’s in punishment cell

(Reuters) – Jailed anti-Russian politician Alexei Navalny said on Monday that prison officials had thrown him into a cell for minor rule violations after he tried to encourage fellow inmates to form a trade union.

Navalny, one of the most vocal critics of President Vladimir Putin in Russia, is serving an 11-1/2-year sentence after being found guilty of parole violations and charges of fraud and contempt of court. He says all the charges were framed as an excuse to jail him to thwart his political ambitions.

The 46-year-old man, who returned to Russia in 2021 from Germany, where Western laboratory tests showed he had attempted poisoning with a Soviet-era nerve agent in Siberia, was moved to a higher level in June. A security penal colony far from Moscow. Russia denied the attempt to kill him.

On Monday, he said in a post organized by his lawyer and supporters on Twitter that he was initially held in a detention cell for three days for not regularly buttoning the top of his prison uniform, which he said was several sizes. Short for him.

Navalny is reported to be in the IK-6 penal colony in Melekhovo, near Vladimir, about 250 km (155 mi) east of Moscow.

There was no immediate comment from the jail administration.

“The solitary confinement cell is a 2.5 x 3 meter concrete kennel. Most of the time it’s unbearable because it’s cold and damp. There’s water on the floor. I got the beach version – it’s very hot and almost no air,” Navalny wrote.

“The windows are small, but the walls are too thick for air flow – even the nets don’t move. There is no ventilation. At night you sleep there and feel like a fish on the beach. At 5 in the morning they take your body away. Mattress and pillow… and raise your bunk. . At 9 p.m. the bunk is lowered again and the mattress returned. There is an iron table, an iron bench, a sink, a hole in the floor and two cameras on the ceiling.”

Navalny said he would receive a visit from his relatives in September, but no such visits are allowed for those in solitary confinement.

“So they say it will become my permanent residence unless I ‘rethink my attitude,'” he wrote.

(Writing by Andrew Osborne; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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