MOSCOW (Reuters) – Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said on Thursday that prison authorities were stripping him of his attorney-client privilege, with all correspondence with his legal team now subject to three-day checks by prison staff.
Writing on Twitter, where Navalny has been posting via his lawyers, the Kremlin critic said prison administrators had refused to tell him the reasons for the move, and that he now communicates with his lawyers through “double plastic glass with bars inside”.
Navalny wrote: “Our communication is now more like a pantomime, to be honest”.
Navalny said that prison authorities had said he was continuing to commit crimes from inside prison, but they had refused to say what the crimes were. Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic inside Russia, is serving an 11-1/2 year sentence after being found guilty of parole violations and fraud and contempt of court charges. He says all charges against him were fabricated as a pretext to smother dissent and thwart his political ambitions.
Last year Navalny voluntarily returned to Russia from Germany where he had been treated for what Western laboratory tests showed was a near-fatal attempt to poison him in Siberia with a Soviet-era nerve agent. Russia denies trying to kill him.
(Reporting by Reuters, Editing by William Maclean)