Head of Russian prisons confirms Navalny sent to detention centre

Kremlin critic has been transferred out of maximum-security jail in Moscow, Russian state media reports.

Navalny has been sentenced to spend a little more than two and a half years behind bars [File: Press service of Simonovsky District Court/Handout via Reuters]

Jailed Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny has been moved to a detention centre where he will serve his more than two-year-long jail sentence, the head of Russia’s prison service told state media on Friday.

Alexander Kalashnikov, head of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), confirmed Navalny had been transferred out of the maximum-security jail in the capital, Moscow, where he had been held, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Kalashnikov did not specify where Navalny was being taken to, but insisted the 44-year-old would serve his sentence in “absolutely normal conditions.”

“I guarantee that there exists no threat to his life and health,” he said.

Russian news reports have previously indicated that Navalny would likely be sent to a facility in western Russia.

Navalny’s lawyer on Thursday said he had been moved to an undisclosed location outside of the capital.

The Kremlin critic was arrested on January 17, when he returned to Moscow from Berlin, over alleged parole violations related to a 2014 embezzlement case. He was later convicted and sentenced on February 2 to almost three years in prison.

Navalny has rejected the case against him as fabricated.

The European Сourt of Human Rights last week ruled it to be unlawful and, citing risks to Navalny’s life in custody, ordered the Russian government to release him.

Russia rebuffed the court’s demand as “inadmissible” meddling in the country’s affairs.

Prior to his return to Russia, Navalny had been receiving treatment in Germany following an alleged poisoning attack last year which he blames on the Kremlin. Moscow denies any involvement in the August 2020 incident.

His arrest drove a wave of protests, drawing tens of thousands to the streets across Russia.

Authorities have detained about 11,000 people, many of whom were fined or given jail terms ranging from seven to 15 days.

His detention has also raised political tensions between Moscow and Western nations, which are preparing additional sanctions against Russian officials.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies