Navalny Transferred From Prison To Unknown Location

An associate of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny says the Kremlin critic has been transferred from his penal colony to an unknown location.

"Aleksei Navalny was taken away from the Correctional Colony No.2. His lawyer, who wanted to see him, was held in the reception area until 2 p.m., and then told: 'We do not have such an inmate here. We do not know where Aleksei is now and what penitentiary he is being transferred to,'" Navalny's press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, wrote on Twitter.

"As long as we don't know where Alexei is, he remains one-on-one with the system that has already tried to kill him, so our main task now is to locate him as soon as possible," she added.

Yarmysh said later on Popular Politics, a YouTube Russian politics program, that Navalny is in danger and could be killed in the prison camp system.

She said that Navalny's family members were not notified in advance of the transfer and also do not know where he is.

Yarmysh also commented on Twitter about reports that Navalny might have been transferred to Correctional Colony No. 6 in Melekhovo near the city of Kovrov, saying this had not been confirmed.

Navalny previously said that he may be transferred to Correctional Colony No. 6, known for its harsher conditions. Melekhovo is some 150 kilometers east of the Pokrov penal colony where he had been serving his sentence.

The United States on June 14 called on Russia to grant Navalny access to his lawyers and medical care and condemned the "politically motivated" actions against him.

Russian authorities "will be held accountable by the international community for anything to befall Mr. Navalny," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

"We reiterate our call for his immediate release as well as an end to the persecution of his many supporters," Price said.

Navalny, 46, was expected to be transferred to a penal colony with harsher conditions after the Moscow City Court rejected his appeal in May against a new nine-year jail term he was handed in March on embezzlement and contempt charges.

He was already serving a prison term from the earlier case in Correctional Colony No. 2 in Pokrov, some 200 kilometers east of Moscow.

The outspoken foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his supporters have rejected all charges against him, calling them politically motivated.

Navalny was arrested in January last year upon his arrival to Moscow from Germany, where he had been treated for a poison attack with what European labs defined as a Soviet-style nerve agent.

He was then handed a 2.5-year prison sentence for violating the terms of an earlier parole because of his convalescence abroad. The original conviction is widely regarded as a trumped-up, politically motivated case.

Navalny has blamed Putin for his poisoning with a Novichok-style chemical substance. The Kremlin has denied any role in the attack.

International organizations consider Navalny a political prisoner. The European Union, U.S. President Joe Biden, and other international officials have demanded Russian authorities release him.