ALEXEI NAVALNY FEARS HE’LL BE SENT TO RUSSIAN ‘TORTURE PRISON’

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Vladimir Putin’s political foe is currently serving a prison sentence in a less harsh jail, but fears he could be sent to the notorious Melekhovo colony

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny fears that he is to be sent to a “torture” prison notorious for sexual violence when his new sentence comes into force.

The strict regime maximum security penal colony at Melekhovo is known for brutal beatings and the rape of male inmates.

Navalny – a leading Vladimir Putin foe who is currently in another less harsh prison – posted: “My [new] verdict has not yet entered into force, but prisoners from Melekhovo maximum security colony write that they are equipping a ‘prison in prison’ for me there.”

Navalny has said that he wants to replace Putin, and says he would win an election if it was not rigged in the Kremlin leader’s favour.

Independent media outlet Mediazona last year revealed allegations of systematic torture and sexual violence at the facility known as correctional colony No. 6.

Former convict Ivan Fomin, then 29, claimed that the governor of the colony, Roman Sahakyan, had forced him to refuse a lawyer with threats.

He was told that if he did not cooperate “they would rape me, and tie my legs and hands from behind.

“I would lie down, and they would beat my heels and ass.

“After that, if I did not confess, they would [rape] me with a [spade] handle, and then put this in my mouth.”

He witnessed another inmate being punched in the stomach and beaten with piping on his heels and bottom.

The prisoners was then “raped” with the piping, which was later forced into his mouth, he said.

Navalny’s press secretary Kira Yarmysh said that while torture is used on prisoners in many Russian colonies, this jail is “a monstrous place even by such insane standards.

There had been numerous testimonies about the facility, she said.

In March, Navalny – who nearly lost his life when he was poisoned with Novichok – was sentenced to nine years of strict regime prison for ‘fraud and insulting the court’.

The judge had been promoted by Vladimir Putin ahead of the sentence.

He is due to be moved to a stricter jail when the new sentence comes into force.

Navalny is seen as the most charismatic Putin foe, and the Russian leader refuses even to mention his name.

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