Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking in a video link from a prison during a court session in Petushki, Vladimir region, east of Moscow on May 31, 2021.

The Associated Press

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Wednesday lost a legal bid to overturn his designation as a flight risk, a label which he says allows prison guards to subject him to ‘torture’ by sleep deprivation.

Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critics, is serving a 2-1/2 year jail term for parole violations in a case he says was trumped up to thwart his political opposition against the Kremlin, something it denies.

The 44-year-old politician went on hunger strike in late March to demand better medical care, which he got. He has since started eating properly again.

Story continues below advertisement

Currently at a different prison facility with a hospital to which he was temporarily moved when on hunger strike, he has mounted three legal challenges against the prison where he was being held beforehand and is expected to return to – the IK-2 corrective penal colony 100 km (60 miles) east of Moscow.

When at IK-2 he complained he was being deprived of sleep by guards who woke him every hour during the night when they filmed him and reported he was present in order to officially verify his whereabouts.

Prison authorities did not deny he was checked every hour, but said the practice was necessary because he had been designated a flight risk by the authorities, something he tried to overturn in court.

A court in the Vladimir region where he is being held rejected his legal challenge on Wednesday however, according to his lawyer and supporters.

“A court has refused to take Alexei Navalny off the (flight risk) register as he is prone to escape. A man who returned to Russia himself despite the threat of jail time!” his Anti-Corruption Foundation said on Twitter.

Vadim Kobzev, one of Navalny’s lawyers, said he would appeal the court’s ruling, the RIA news agency reported. Kobzev could not be immediately reached for further comment.

Navalny’s other legal challenges are an attempt to stop the prison from censoring his newspapers by cutting out articles before he gets to read them and challenging what he says is its illegal refusal to give him a copy of the Koran.

Story continues below advertisement

The prison says it acts in strict accordance with Russian law.

Navalny was arrested and jailed after returning to Russia in January from Germany where he was being treated for what German doctors said was poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent.

Navalny accused Putin of ordering the poisoning, something the Kremlin, which says it has still seen no evidence he was poisoned, denied.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies