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Russian opposition leader Navalny’s team finally locates him in remote prison colony after 20-day search

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s team has announced that they have found him in a Siberian penal colony following a weekslong search. 

“We found Alexei Navalny,” spokesperson Kira Yarmysh announced on Christmas Day, the BBC reported. Yarmysh added that Navalny’s lawyer was able to meet with him. 

Yarmysh announced the update on Telegram, where she clarified that Navalny, 47, had been moved to the IK-3 penal colony, also known as “Polar Wolf,” in Kharp in the Yamalo-Nenets district in Northern Russia. 

Previously, Russian authorities had held him at a facility roughly 145 miles east of Moscow. Navalny’s team lost contact with him on Dec. 5 after he failed to appear in court via video link for a hearing, kicking off a desperate search. 

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Yarmysh at the time said prison officials had blamed electrical problems and that lawyers had not been able to meet with their client for nearly a week. Officials finally admitted to the lawyer that Navalny was no longer among the inmates and “refused to say” where he had gone. 

Navalny has stood as the most significant opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent years, leading to an assassination attempt in 2020 when Navalny suffered poisoning from a suspected Novichok nerve agent. He remained in a coma for several weeks while doctors in Germany fought to keep him alive. 

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Navalny returned to Russia in 2021, when authorities immediately arrested him and later sentenced him to 19 years in prison on extremism charges. His team has repeatedly raised concerns about his treatment following his return.

Ivan Zhadov, an aide to the opposition leader and head of his anti-corruption foundation, criticized the Russian government for putting Navalny in the “most remote colonies” to “isolate and suppress” him, The New York Times reported. 

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“Aleksei’s situation is a clear example of how the system treats political prisoners,” Zhadov said in a post on X. He added that although Navalny spoke with his lawyer, officials tried to delay the meeting. 

Zhadov also claimed that government officials had likely decided months ago to move Navalny to IK-3.

“Thanks to those who continue to write and spread information about Alexei and other political prisoners, we continue the fight,” Zhadov wrote. “Thank you. Freedom for Navalny.”

Fox News Digital’s Stephen Sorace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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