Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny revealed on Wednesday he was transferred to a maximum-security prison known as the “torture conveyor belt.”
Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest opponent, wrote on his Telegram channel that he was moved to the IK-6 prison in the Vladimir region village of Melekhovo, about 155 miles east of Moscow.
“My space travel continues,” a seemingly upbeat Navalny quipped Wednesday. “I’ve moved from ship to ship. In other words, greetings to you all from a strict regime zone.”
He reported he was in quarantine, but did not say why or what his conditions were.
Navalny also complained that he “nearly lost it” after having to haul his massive book collection from one prison to another.
“Yesterday for the first time in my life I was carrying those bags and thinking that book burnings were not necessarily a bad thing,” he joked.
Until this week, Navalny had been serving an 11-1/2 year sentence at the IK-2 penal colony in the village of Pokrov in the Vladimir region.
But when his attorney arrived at the lockup Tuesday to meet with him, he was told, “There is no such convict here.”
“Where Alexei is now, and which colony he is being taken to, we don’t know,” Navalny’s chief of staff Leonid Volkov said on the Telegram app.
Hours later, regional prison observer Sergey Yazhan said by phone that Navalny had been taken to the notorious Melekhovo penal colony.
The prison at Melekhovo has become consistent with allegations of brutal torture and the systemic rape of prisoners.
A former inmate recounted in graphic detail to the independent Russian media outlet Mediazona last year how he witnessed another convict being savagely beaten and sodomized with a pipe to extract a confession.
Navalny himself addressed the terrifying reputation of the prison last month when he first learned that he could be transferred there.
‘They say that if you google ‘Melekhovo’, there will be stories of prisoners about how fingernails are pulled out there,” he wrote on Instagram.
Navalny was initially jailed for two and a half years for parole violations in February 2021 after voluntarily returning from Germany, where he had been recovering from an apparent Novichok nerve agent poisoning in Russia that he accuses the Kremlin of ordering.
On March 24, Navalny was sentenced to another nine years in prison for fraud and contempt of court. The high-profile dissident says the charges against him were fabricated and politically motivated.
The judge ordered that Navalny, who has lambasted Russia’s war in Ukraine as “stupid,” be transferred to a maximum-security prison, where his rights to visits and correspondence will be reduced.
Navalny said two weeks ago that he had been charged in a new criminal case with creating an extremist organization and inciting hatred towards the authorities, offenses that carry a maximum sentence of 15 more years.
With Post Wires