Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Misses Court Date, Raising Alarm Among Supporters

Aleksei A. Navalny, Russia’s most outstanding opposition chief, who’s at the moment serving a 19-year sentence in a Russian penal colony, missed one other courtroom date on Monday as his allies expressed concern at not having heard from him for greater than 5 days.

Mr. Navalny, 47, a fierce critic of President Vladimir V. Putin over the previous decade and a frequent goal of Kremlin assaults, was scheduled to look in a district courtroom within the metropolis of Kovrov by way of a video hyperlink.

However the display screen within the courtroom remained darkish and his allies stated that they had not been in contact with Mr. Navalny since Tuesday, Kira Yarmysh, his spokeswoman, stated on Monday.

In accordance with Ms. Yarmysh, authorities in Mr. Navalny’s penal colony have been blaming issues with electrical energy for his absence. However given the tough nature of his imprisonment, serving one sentence after one other in a “punishment” cell, his allies have been satisfied there will need to have been different elements at play.

“They’re simply mocking us,” Mr. Yarmysh stated on Monday in a post on X, previously referred to as Twitter.

Final Wednesday, Mr. Navalny’s lawyer couldn’t get entry to him within the penal colony after ready in entrance of the power for seven hours. There was no rationalization given, Ms. Yarmysh said, including that this was the primary time that had occurred.

The subsequent day, Mr. Navalny missed a courtroom listening to and his attorneys have been once more not allowed to see him, Mr. Yarmysh said. The identical scenario occurred once more on Friday, she stated.

“The truth that we are able to’t discover Alexey is especially worrying as a result of he fell unwell in his cell final week: he bought dizzy and laid down on the ground,” Ms. Yarmysh stated on Friday in a post on X. “Earlier than that, there have been no less than occasional letters from him, albeit censored ones, however there have been no letters all week.”

Whereas in jail, Mr. Navalny nonetheless managed to retain a major presence in Russia’s political opposition by publishing statements and delivering speeches in courtroom. Final week, Mr. Navalny launched a marketing campaign urging his followers to vote for another candidate than Mr. Putin within the subsequent presidential election scheduled for March.

Mr. Navalny has been in custody in Russia since his detention in January 2021 in a Moscow airport, the place he arrived after spending months in Germany, recovering from a poisoning by a nerve agent. Mr. Navalny blamed the Kremlin for the poisoning, however Russian authorities denied their involvement.

Subsequently, Russian authorities have introduced forth a large number of latest costs towards him. According to Ms. Yarmysh, Mr. Navalny is at the moment a defendant in 14 legal circumstances and faces a possible sentence of as much as 35 years in jail.

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