Navalny Turns Up in Quarantine at Russia Detention Center

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Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny said he’s being held in quarantine in a detention center 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Moscow, resurfacing for the first time since being taken from his cell in the capital last week to serve a 2 and 1/2-year prison term.

“Everything’s fine with me and there’s even a pull-up bar in the jail yard,” Navalny wrote in an Instagram post from the Kolchugino pre-trial detention center in the Vladimir region.

Navalny likely will be held in the detention center pending an appeal in a case in which he was convicted of slandering a World War II veteran, according to his lawyer, Vadim Kobzev. Over the weekend, a prisoners’ rights activist had reported Navalny was sent to a notorious prison camp in the same region. But Navalny himself hadn’t been heard from since Friday, when his lawyers were told he’d been taken from jail in Moscow.

Navalny’s jailing, following a nerve-agent attack on him last year that he and western governments blame on the Kremlin, has sharply raised tensions between Moscow and the U.S. and European Union, which imposed new sanctions on Russia Tuesday over the case.

Navalny was jailed in January after returning from Germany where he’d been treated for the nerve-agent poisoning. Last month, he was convicted of violating the terms of a suspended sentence -- including by not checking in with authorities in Russia while he was recuperating in Germany -- and sentenced to serve the term in prison. In a separate trial, he was also convicted of slandering the veteran, who had endorsed Kremlin-backed changes to the constitution in an advertisement. Hearings in his appeal in that case haven’t yet been scheduled.

On Wednesday, Navalny met with his lawyers in Kolchugino, according to his Twitter feed. The activist is being held in a quarantine cell with two other inmates, unable to receive letters and with access only to a television, according to Kobzev.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Navalny’s Instagram post was transmitted from the cell. He said he had less contact with the outside world than when he was in jail in Moscow. He devoted most of the post to a discussion of makeshift cooking options for toasting bread he and his cellmates were trying.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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