Jailed Putin Critic Alexey Navalny Is Experiencing Isolation That Is 'Purely Psychological Torture,' His Daughter Says

Jake Epstein / Business Insider
Jailed Putin Critic Alexey Navalny Is Experiencing Isolation That Is 'Purely Psychological Torture,' His Daughter Says Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears from prison on a video link provided by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service, at a courtroom in Vladimir, Russia, Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (photo: Vladimir Kondrashov/AP)

The daughter of jailed Putin critic Alexey Navalny said her father is experiencing "purely psychological torture" during isolation at a maximum-security prison in Russia.

During an interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto that aired Monday, Dasha Navalnaya detailed the harrowing conditions that Navalny is facing after being transferred to a remote prison earlier this month.

"They fenced off a separate barrack in the area to really create a prison within the prison so that he can't speak publicly and isolate him from any information," Navalnaya said.

She continued: "They don't let him go anywhere — people are not allowed to communicate with him, and this kind of isolation is purely psychological torture for anyone."

Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was serving a years-long sentence at a penal colony when he was abruptly transferred in mid-June to an unknown location — startling his allies.

Russian state media then reported that Navalny was moved to a notorious high-security prison in Melekhovo, which is east of Moscow.

"The conditions in the prison are bad," Navalnaya told CNN. "This is one of the most dangerous and infamous high-security prisons in Russia, known for torturing and murdering the inmates."

Navalnaya said neither her family, nor her father's attorneys, were made aware of the new prison transfer before it happened. She said he'll stay behind bars for as long as Putin wants him there because the Russian president wants to keep him silent.

"It, of course, is very concerning because he is one-on-one with the same people — and the same government — that tried to kill him," she said.

Navalny was poisoned in 2020 in an attack widely blamed on Putin. Putin has denied any involvement in Navalny's poisoning. After receiving treatment in Germany, Navalny was arrested upon his return to Russia in early 2021 and charged with violating parole over a past conviction.

His ongoing imprisonment has stirred mass outrage inside Russia and beyond the country's borders.

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