Alexey Navalny drops two lawsuits against Russian prison officials
During a court hearing on June 7, jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny dropped two of his lawsuits against the administration of Penal Colony No.2, the prison in the city of Pokrov where he’s serving his sentence. According to the independent television channel Dozhd, Navalny has withdrawn his claims challenging the “illegal censorship” of the newspapers he receives and the prison administration’s decision to withhold his books.
“We had an incident where someone cut articles out of the newspaper. We thought that it was the administration, but it says it didn’t cut [the articles] out. I would like to withdraw the claim, because we are now at a point where we have legally established that there’s no censorship. Essentially, we’ve achieved everything, I’m dropping the claim,” Navalny explained, as quoted by Dozhd.
Regarding the second lawsuit, Navalny said that he received his books and “we streamlined the process.” “The issue of obtaining books is important, it took several months. But now I have the Quran, the latest book from Vladimir Sorokin, I even have the Bible, and the system has been adjusted,” Navalny said, as quoted by Dozhd.
The Vladimir Region’s Petushinsky District Court, which was considering Navalny’s complaints, agreed to close the proceedings on both claims.
In April, Navalny’s lawyers filed three lawsuits against the administration of Pokrov’s Penal Colony No. 2 (IK-2). One had to do with the prison staff allegedly censoring the issues of Kommersant and Novaya Gazeta that Navalny receives (for example, an article titled “In Defense of Navalny’s Haters” was cut out of his copy of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta). The second claim had to do with the prison administration withholding Navalny’s books, including his copy of the Muslim holy book, the Quran. The third lawsuit challenged Navalny’s registration as “liable to escape.” On June 2, the Petushinsky District court upheld Navalny’s “flight risk” status.
Navalny’s lawyers filed another lawsuit related to his “flight risk” status at the end of April, against Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina remand prison, where Navalny was in custody before his transfer to Pokrov. Prison officials at Matrosskaya Tishina were the ones who first registered him as “liable to escape.”
In mid-May, Navalny filed yet another lawsuit against Correctional Facility No. 3 (IK-3) in Vladimir, the site of the prisoners’ hospital where he was transferred after he went on hunger strike on March 31. Navalny sought to sue the prison’s staff for preventing his lawyers from bringing cell phones and laptop computers into their meetings.
During the hearing on June 7, Navalny’s defense lawyers said that the opposition politician had been transferred out of the prisoner’s hospital in Vladimir and sent back to IK-2 in Pokrov.