US ‘deeply concerned’ by Russia’s treatment of imprisoned opposition leader Navalny

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on screens via a video link from the corrective penal colony IK-2 in Pokrov during a court hearing to consider an appeal against his prison sentence in Moscow, Russia , May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

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WASHINGTON, Sept 9 (Reuters) – The United States is deeply concerned about the Russian government’s treatment of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Friday.

Russian prison authorities interfered with Navalny’s preparation for his defense and communication with his attorney, Price said in a statement. He also said Navalny had been repeatedly placed in solitary confinement for alleged minor offences.

Price said Navalny’s treatment was “evidence of politically motivated harassment”, and he reiterated US calls for the opposition leader’s immediate release.

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Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic in Russia, is serving an 11-and-a-half-year sentence after being found guilty of parole violations, fraud and contempt of court. He says all the charges against him were fabricated as a pretext to stifle dissent and thwart his political ambitions.

Navalny said on Thursday that prison authorities were stripping him of his attorney-client privilege, with all correspondence with his legal team now subject to three-day checks by prison staff. Read more

Writing on Twitter, where Navalny posted via his lawyers, the Kremlin spokesman said prison administrators refused to tell him the reasons for the move and he was now communicating with his lawyers via “a double glass in plastic with bars inside”.

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Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Chris Gallagher

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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