Politician Alexei Navalny, who is serving his sentence in penal colony No. 6 near the city of Melekhovo in Russia’s Vladimir Region, has once again been placed in a punitive isolation ward — this time for five days, Navalny announced on his Telegram channel.
“The way to the cell is down the corridor: ‘Hands behind your back!.’ ‘Uh-huh,’ I put my hands behind my back. But for three seconds I walked normally — without my hands behind my back. I committed a crime! They called me up to the commission: ‘Convict Navalny, you have committed a violation of the rules of escorting to the punishment cell. The video shows that you did so for three seconds, but as your characteristic is negative and you have been placed in a punishment cell before, we have decided that you should be placed there again.’
Five days. That's funny. So I'm going to stay here, I guess. That's a directive from Moscow. Even by the standards of a Russian prison, a punishment cell for 3 seconds with your hands off your back is too much,” he wrote.
On 15 August, Navalny was placed in a punishment cell for “regularly unbuttoning the top button of his shirt” while in the industrial zone (or “promzona” in Russian). According to the politician, prisoners who are kept in the punishment cells are prohibited from writing letters, smoking cigarettes, receiving visits and parcels. Paper and pen are given for 1 hour and 15 minutes a day, a walk is an hour a day in “the same cell, but with a piece of sky,” and “searches all the time and hands behind your back.”
Earlier, Navalny spoke about the creation of the “Promzona” trade union for employed prisoners and employees of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service. Navalny explained that he was a supporter of trade unions as he thought it was important to “push for higher wages and better working conditions.” He also said that he and other prisoners had succeeded in enforcing the law on prisoners’ working conditions — they ensured that the administration replaced the stools on which prisoners sit while working in the sewing room with chairs with a backrest.