Putin's political opponent Alexei Navalny could face 5 more years in prison after alleged 'provocation': report

The Kremlin’s leading opposition, Alexei Navalny, potentially faces more criminal charges after essentially being forced to break prison rules of the maximum security penal colony where he is currently being held, according to his lawyers.

Reuters reported that a foul-smelling inmate who did not keep good hygiene was put in the same cell as Navalny on Monday. The outlet reported that the situation was a product of a “provocation” while he was carrying out prison labor, and that Navalny was forced to drag the ill-smelling inmate out of the cell, refusing to share a space with him.

However, Navalny was then told that he would be charged with thwarting prison authorities, which could carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The incident comes after it was reported that Navalny had been suffering from severe stomach pain in jail, which could be due to slow-acting poison.

"An ambulance was called for Navalny overnight on Friday to Saturday to the maximum security IK-6 penal colony at Melekhovo, about 250 km (115 miles) east of Moscow, where he is being held," spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh told Reuters.

Navalny was said to be suffering from severe stomach pain, and has not been able to eat the prison food, as it is making him feel even worse.

Additionally, the political figure has been banned from purchasing food from another source, according to the report.

Yarmysh said: "He doesn’t eat anything because he is prohibited from receiving parcels with food or to buy food in the prison store and the food that is provided by the prison to him actually worsens his stomach pain.”

"His health is not a good condition," she continued. "We can't rule out the idea that he is being poisoned, not in a huge dosage as before, but in small ones so that he doesn't die immediately but for him to suffer and to ruin his health.”

However, the spokeswoman has not been able to confirm, with evidence, that Navalny is, in fact, being poisoned. The working theory is that the development of the severe stomach pain is not consistent with ailments he has experienced before. Navalny had also not been receiving any medical care leading up to the ambulance call.

The Kremlin did not seem too concerned with their prisoner’s health care, as it suggested that it did not have a comment about Navalny’s situation, and that it was the responsibility of the federal penitentiary service, per Reuters. Navalny is currently serving 11.5 years for fraud and contempt of court, which he has characterized as trumped up charges in an effort to silence him. 

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Navalny described his current living conditions as “extremely hellish,” calling attention to the fact that he is apparently in solitary confinement.


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