In Russia, more than 100 of his supporters were arrested at rallies to release Alexei Navalny. The civil rights portal OVD-Info speaks of 109 people who were taken into custody in 23 cities. In other countries, too, people have taken to the streets to protest against the arrest of the Russian opposition figure. Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Jarmysch published corresponding photos from Russia, Japan, Australia, Georgia and Germany on Twitter.
Navalny himself addressed the public with a personal message on his 47th birthday. In the text, which was distributed via online networks, he confirmed that he would not lose heart despite the harsh prison conditions. “You have to be honest with yourself on your birthday,” wrote Navalny. He is in a good mood, although of course he would rather be with his family than in the penal camp 260 kilometers northeast of Moscow.
“But the way life works is that societal progress and a better future can only be achieved if a certain number of people are willing to pay the price for their right to their beliefs,” he continued. Certainly the day will come when speaking the truth and standing up for justice in Russia will be commonplace and safe.
The most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been a political prisoner in prison for alleged fraud for more than two years. So far he has been sentenced to nine years in prison. Through his support team, Navalny continues to send messages from the prison camp describing the conditions of his detention and criticizing Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.
New process – up to 30 years in a prison camp
A new trial against the 47-year-old is scheduled to begin on Tuesday. This time he is accused of “extremism”, for which he faces 30 years in prison in the worst case. According to his spokeswoman Jarmysch, the trial should not be held in court, but directly in the penal camp.
Most recently, Navalny’s team repeatedly drew attention to the inhumane conditions under which the politician is imprisoned. For example, he has been put in an isolation cell two by three meters almost continuously for months. International human rights activists also speak of torture.
se/wa (rtr, dpa, afp, ap)