Aleksei Navalny’s Death Would Deprive Russia of Leading Opposition Voice: Live Updates

On Wednesday, two days earlier than Russian authorities reported his loss of life, Aleksei A. Navalny was sentenced to a different time period in a particular punishment cell in an Arctic jail, a notoriously harsh kind of incarceration typically used to power inmates into subjugation.

The sentencing marked the 27th time that jail authorities had despatched Mr. Navalny right into a punishment cell, in keeping with Kira Yarmysh, his spokeswoman. If he have been to have served this final time period in full, he would have spent a complete of 308 days in related cells, Ms. Yarmysh mentioned.

According to Eva Merkacheva, a Russian journalist who has lined the nation’s prisons extensively, inmates in such cells are sometimes left chilly and hungry, and people circumstances might account for studies of Mr. Navalny’s loss of life.

”I feel his infinite transfers to a punishment cell might undoubtedly result in this,” Ms. Merkacheva instructed MSK1, a information website.

Though incarcerated, Mr. Navalny had continued to submit messages on social media by passing notes to his visiting legal professionals, and he had described the brutal circumstances in punishment cells.

Prison authorities used trivial transgressions as causes to punish Mr. Navalny, he wrote in one Instagram post. He had been punished, he mentioned, for sporting an unbuttoned gown, for not strolling along with his arms behind his again whereas being transferred between cells, and for failing to introduce himself correctly.

Apart from spending time in a frigid, cramped cell, inmates in punishment cells are additionally restricted of their skill to exercise, spending time in a tiny walled courtyard with a roof of jail bars. In his new penal colony within the Arctic, as an example, Mr. Navalny was allowed to exit solely within the mornings, whereas it was nonetheless darkish and the temperatures have been at their lowest level.

“It’s never been colder than -25°F.,” Mr. Navalny wrote on social media in January, describing his walks. “Even at that temperature you can walk for more than half an hour, but only if you have time to grow a new nose, ears and fingers.”

In his posts, Mr. Navalny known as his confinement to punishment cells a kind of torture, although he additionally joked cavalierly that it was a possibility for him to meditate.

But harsh jail circumstances did injury Mr. Navalny’s health. He was first despatched to a penal colony in March 2021, simply months after being poisoned by a nerve agent that almost killed him. Following the poisoning, Mr. Navalny misplaced important weight and needed to relearn primary actions, equivalent to find out how to use his fingers along with his cellphone.

During his first weeks within the penal colony, Mr. Navalny’s health shortly deteriorated. Leonid Volkov, his chief of workers, said that weeks after he was transferred to his first penal colony, Mr. Navalny suffered from acute again and leg ache.

While imprisoned, Mr. Navalny mentioned that he was not receiving correct medical remedy, and declared a starvation strike to protest it. By the time he stopped it greater than three weeks later, he mentioned, he was left like “a skeleton walking, swaying, in its cell.”

In June 2022, Mr. Navalny was transferred to a harsher jail, the place issues along with his backbone deteriorated, he said, as a result of he needed to spend most of his time along with his actions constrained by the tight confines of the punishment cell. Doctors that got here to see him didn’t disclose his prognosis, he mentioned, including that he was additionally administered undisclosed pictures.

In January 2023, Mr. Navalny’s spouse, Yulia, mentioned in a post on Instagram that her husband was sick with a high fever and that as an alternative of serving to him, jail officers transferred one other sick person into his cell. The authorities refused to switch him to a medical facility on the time, Mr. Navalny mentioned, and a bunch of Russian medical doctors wrote letters demanding the authorities deal with him.

For a time, his situation improved, however weeks later an ambulance needed to be known as as a result of of an acute abdomen situation, Mr. Navalny’s lawyer said. Last December, Mr. Navalny misplaced consciousness in his cell, his spokeswoman mentioned.

“We don’t know what it was,” she said on social media. “But given that he’s disadvantaged of food and is saved in a punishment cell with out air flow, with minimal walks, it appears like a collapse from starvation.”

In December, Mr. Navalny spent virtually three weeks touring throughout the Russian jail system being transferred to his new penal colony within the Arctic. Upon arrival, he said that the journey was “fairly exhausting.”

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