Alexei Navalny was sent to a penal colony

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Kremlin opponent Alexeï Navalny has been transferred to the penal colony where he is due to serve a two-and-a-half-year sentence, the head of the Russian Prison Service (FSIN) announced on Friday.

“He was transferred to the place where he is supposed to be by court decision,” said Alexander Kalashnikov, quoted by Russian news agencies, adding that he does not weigh on Alexey Navalny “any threat to his life or his health”.

The opponent “will carry out his sentence under absolutely normal conditions”, he said, assuring that “Mr. Navalny, if he wishes, will take part in production activities ”.

Place of detention unknown

A legacy of the Soviet Union, most prison sentences in Russia are served in prison camps sometimes located far from everything. Prisoners’ work, usually in sewing or furniture-making workshops, is often compulsory there.

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A spokesperson for the FSIN explained to AFP that she could not give details of the place of detention of Alexey Navalny, not having the right to reveal personal data on the detainees. The opponent’s lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, for his part told AFP that he was not aware of the whereabouts of his client.

On Thursday, the opponent’s lawyers and relatives announced his departure from the Moscow detention center where he had been held since his arrest on his return to Russia in mid-January.

“Political” sentence

Russian justice last week confirmed the sentence of the 44-year-old opponent, in a fraud case dating from 2014 that the person concerned, and many Western capitals and NGOs, denounce as political.

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He was arrested on January 17, on his return from Germany where he had spent almost five months in convalescence to recover from a poisoning of which he accuses the Kremlin.