After the renewed solitary confinement for the Russian Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny, the USA has demanded his immediate release. In view of the ongoing harassment by the Russian authorities against the 46-year-old, the US government is joining Navalny's family, his colleagues and supporters around the world in making this demand, said State Department spokesman Ned Price in Washington. "The United States is deeply concerned by the Russian government's escalating, arbitrary interference with the rights of Alexei Navalny," it said.
Navalny had announced on his Twitter channel on Wednesday that this time he would have to spend 15 days in a solitary cell. According to his own statements, he was thus locked up in solitary confinement in his penal camp for the fourth time in a row. Because of alleged fraud, the 46-year-old is being held in penal colony 6 in Melekhovo, about 260 kilometers north-east of Moscow - under particularly harsh prison conditions. In May, a court upheld the nine-year prison sentence. Internationally, he is considered a political prisoner. Navalny had recovered from a poison attack in Germany in August 2020, but then returned to Russia voluntarily.
USA: "Politically motivated harassment"
Price accused Russian law enforcement officials of preventing Navalny from communicating with his lawyer. "This interference, as well as his repeated placement in solitary confinement for minor alleged violations, is further evidence of politically motivated harassment."
In mid-August, while in prison, Navalny called on the West to impose stricter sanctions on Russian oligarchs. Long before the war against Ukraine ordered by President Vladimir Putin, Russia's best-known opposition member had been calling for tough sanctions against the very rich in his country, who were close to the Kremlin.