World Kremlin critic Navalny begins serving time for parole violation
Russian court rejects Kremlin critic Navalny's appeal against jail term
Russian court rejects Kremlin critic Navalny's appeal against jail termA Moscow court did however shorten his original jail term by six weeks. The original term was 3.5 years but, with the amount of time he has already spent under house arrest taken into account, amounted to around two years and eight months.
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a penal colony east of Moscow to serve a term for violating parole, a public commission that monitors detainees' rights said Sunday.
President Vladimir Putin's most prominent opponent was sentenced this month to two-and-a-half years at a facility in the Vladimir region about 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of the capital.
He was convicted of violating parole terms while in Germany recovering from a poisoning attack.
Putin critic Alexei Navalny loses sentence appeal
The Russian opposition leader was sentenced earlier in February for allegedly violating parole charges. Mr Navalny, 44, was arrested on 17 January as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin - an allegation denied by Russian authorities.His sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that he has has rejected as fabricated and the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful.Mr Navalny had asked Moscow City Court to overturn the sentence and set him free.
For several days, Navalny's allies were unaware of his whereabouts, with the head of the Federal Prison Service saying Friday only that he had been transferred from a Moscow detention centre to a penal colony.
Reports based on unnamed sources circulated in local media over the weekend about Navalny's possible location, before Moscow's public commission said in a statement that he was in a Federal Prison Service institution in the Vladimir region.
"We have 100 percent information that Navalny arrived in the Vladimir region to serve his sentence," a member of the commission, Alexei Melnikov, told the Interfax news agency.
Has Alexey Navalny moved on from his nationalist past?
The Kremlin critic stopped attending far-right rallies many years ago, but he still supports anti-migrant measures. “I see no contradiction in promoting trade unions while at the same time demanding a visa requirement for migrants from Central Asia,” he told Der Spiegel in October.
"At first, he will be in quarantine, then he will be transferred to his colony," he added.
Reports in Russian news agencies suggested that the opposition figure's final destination would be penal colony no. 2 in the town of Pokrov.
State news agency RIA Novosti reported that the colony is "strict" regarding "disciplinary compliance", and that Navalny will find it difficult to make calls, with cell phones banned and a payphone that often does not work.
Another state news agency, TASS, cited an unnamed source as saying that the Kremlin critic will have the option of working as a cook, librarian, mask sewer or machinist.
- 'No threat to life' -
Navalny spent months recovering in Germany from the near fatal poisoning with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok that he claims was ordered by Putin -- a claim the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
The 44-year-old politician was arrested on his return to Moscow last month, sparking a wave of protests across the country and a brutal police crackdown.
Navalny probably moved to prison camp, says lawyer
Lawyer says move would violate the law, adding that Navalny’s relatives have not been informed of his whereabouts. RIA news agency reported that Eva Merkacheva, a member of Moscow’s public monitoring committee for human rights, said Navalny was sent to a standard penal colony, the location of which should be disclosed when he arrived there. Navalny, 44, was arrested on January 17 after his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin.
He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a penal colony for violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence for fraud charges that the European Court of Human Rights has deemed "arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable".
Last week the Strasbourg-based court ordered Russia to release Navalny, saying his life was in danger in prison, but Moscow swiftly rejected the call.
The head of Russia's prison service said Friday that Navalny would serve his sentence in "absolutely normal conditions" and "guaranteed" there was "no threat to his life".
The crackdown on Navalny worsened Russian relations with the West that were already at their lowest point since the Cold War.
Leaders of Western countries have condemned Navalny's detention and called for his immediate release, and the European Union has agreed to impose sanctions on four senior Russian officials over the crackdown.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement Saturday on the sixth anniversary of the murder of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov that said Russian opposition figures continue to be targeted for "assassination".
In addition to the sentence he is set to serve, Navalny is the target of a probe for large-scale fraud, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The Kremlin critic has denounced the investigation as politically motivated.
His team called for protests to be suspended after 11,500 demonstrators were detained in late January and early February, but it has also said that rallies would resume in the coming months.
Putin Ramps Up RT’s Propaganda Budget as Poll Rating Slumps .
MOSCOW–With Vladimir Putin’s popularity already in decline, news of the United States’ latest round of sanctions on Russia has alarmed the Kremlin, prompting its cast of experts, advisers, and anti-American ideologues to float several possible responses. Senator Olga Kovitidi promised that Russia would “send America to a blind knockout.” One expert suggested publishing lists of Russian media “spreading fake news.” Certain military experts proposed the formation of “information battalions” in cyberspace, modeled after the masked Russian soldiers deployed in the 2014 Ukraine crisis.