Russian Ex-Con of U.S. Penal System Meets and Taunts Imprisoned Navalny

Russian Ex-Con of U.S. Penal System Meets and Taunts Imprisoned Navalny
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Russian Ex-Con of U.S. Penal System Meets and Taunts Imprisoned Navalny

Russian Ex-Con of U.S. Penal System Meets and Taunts Imprisoned Navalny

MOSCOW — Aleksei A. Navalny, the imprisoned Russian opposition chief, has been denied visits from his medical doctors and attorneys.

However one unlikely customer to the notoriously harsh penal colony the place he’s being held did flip up this week: Maria Butina, the one Russian to serve jail time in the US in relation to investigations of Russian political affect operations throughout and after the 2016 election. She now works for RT, a pro-Kremlin tv channel.

Based on social media posts by Ms. Butina and supporters of Mr. Navalny, the 2 had a face-to-face encounter that appeared to have been punctuated by mutual insults.

In 2018, Ms. Butina pleaded responsible in the US to at least one cost of conspiring to behave as an unregistered international agent, typically referred to as “espionage mild.” Prosecutors accused Ms. Butina of having befriended Republican Social gathering politicians and leaders within the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation whereas sending reviews again to Russia. She served most of her 18-month sentence and then was deported.

Earlier within the week, Ms. Butina taunted Mr. Navalny in on-line posts for talking out about his deteriorating well being within the Russian jail, Penal Colony No. 2, identified by its initials IK2, within the Vladimir Area east of Moscow, implying that American prisons are worse. “Are you a person?” she wrote on Wednesday.

Her go to on Thursday appeared supposed to ship the identical message in particular person, in response to the account posted by Mr. Navalny’s supporters.

“As a substitute of a physician, at this time the depressing RT tv propagandist Butina arrived, accompanied by video cameras,” mentioned Mr. Navalny’s Telegram channel. “She was yelling that that is one of the best and most snug jail.”

Mr. Navalny narrowly survived a poisoning with a army nerve agent final 12 months and was medically evacuated to Berlin. He returned voluntarily to Russia in January and was arrested on the airport. In February, he was sentenced to greater than two years in jail.

In jail, Mr. Navalny has suffered from again and leg ache that has not been recognized, in response to his lawyer, who mentioned Mr. Navalny couldn’t rule out lingering results of the poisoning. Mr. Navalny has mentioned that he has a herniated disk from driving in jail transport autos and that he’s dropping feeling in each legs.

He has additionally suffered from sleep deprivation because the guards wake him hourly at night time as a result of he has been categorized as a flight danger, regardless of returning to Russia voluntarily to be arrested, he and his attorneys have mentioned.

Mr. Navalny’s supporters say the jail authorities are deliberately subjecting him to a drawn-out torment whereas additionally shortly tallying sufficient petty infractions, akin to rising 10 minutes late or sporting a T-shirt to a gathering together with his attorneys, to ship him to a punishment block in the event that they select. It’s a painful instance for different Russian dissidents to look at.

On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany raised considerations about Mr. Navalny’s deteriorating well being throughout a three-way video convention with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. The Kremlin has mentioned Mr. Navalny receives satisfactory well being care.

On Wednesday, Mr. Navalny declared a starvation strike till he’s allowed a go to with a specialist physician.

The response prompted Ms. Butina’s taunting commentary on-line that was then delivered in particular person on the jail.

“A brand new method for Navalny, a starvation strike,” Ms. Butina wrote on Telegram, the messaging service, on Wednesday. “It’s as outdated because the world.”

She wrote that his intent was to attract consideration overseas and that others in Russian prisons had tried this earlier than. “Look what little poor ones we’re,” she wrote of what starvation strikers supposed to convey.

“Lyosha, are you a person or not?” she wrote, referring to Mr. Navalny by a diminutive of his first title. “I’m drained of the complaining. He’s in a single of one of the best penal colonies in Russia.”

Ms. Butina in posts on Friday mentioned that Mr. Navalny, in her view, appeared hale and hearty. She mentioned the warden had instructed her Mr. Navalny was refusing medical care from jail medical doctors.

“Navalny walks completely usually,” she wrote after the go to. “He doesn’t appear to be an individual ‘not allowed to sleep,’ and I can decide from my time in jail within the U.S.A.”

In describing their encounter, Ms. Butina wrote that Mr. Navalny had been standing in a line of prisoners. When he noticed her, she wrote, he “instantly hurled insults.” She additionally wrote that she requested him: “Are you aware the distinction between a jail and a resort?”

Ms. Butina served a portion of her sentence on the Federal Correctional Establishment in Tallahassee, Fla. In a memoir revealed after her return to Russia, Ms. Butina wrote that she had been horrified to satisfy transgender individuals within the penitentiary and had as soon as been despatched to solitary confinement.

Mr. Navalny’s model of the encounter with Ms. Butina, in response to his Telegram channel’s posting, differed on what was mentioned, however not less than appeared constant along with her assertion that it was an insult-fueled trade.

Mr. Navalny “for quarter-hour lectured her earlier than a line of convicts, calling her a parasite and servant of the federal government of thieves,” in response to the posting.

Exactly how this data was obtained and posted to his Telegram channel is just not clear. Mr. Navalny has conveyed messages by way of attorneys up to now that others put up underneath his title.

RT, the tv channel previously generally known as Russia In the present day that Mr. Navalny’s aides mentioned had dispatched Ms. Butina to his jail, didn’t reply to a question concerning the go to.

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