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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has gone missing, his spokesperson says

A screen shows jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny as he arrives to listen to a hearing on an appeal lodged against a court decision to jail him for 19 years in a maximum security prison on extremism-linked charges, at a court in Moscow on Sept. 26.
Tatyana Makeyeva
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AFP via Getty Images
A screen shows jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny as he arrives to listen to a hearing on an appeal lodged against a court decision to jail him for 19 years in a maximum security prison on extremism-linked charges, at a court in Moscow on Sept. 26.

MOSCOW — Lawyers of jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny say they have not been able to confirm his whereabouts for nearly a week, raising concern among his allies for his health and safety.

Navalny failed to appear at two recent court hearings by video feed due to a supposed "power outage" at the prison colony. The opposition leader's lawyers now say prison authorities claim that Navalny is no longer listed among the inmates there.

"Today, as on Friday, the lawyers tried to get to IK-6 and IK-7 — two colonies in the Vladimir region where Alexey @navalny might be. They have just been informed simultaneously in both colonies that he is not there. We still don't know where Alexey is," Kira Yarmysh, a spokesperson for Navalny, wrote on Monday on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Navalny was awaiting a transfer to a harsher prison after a court in August sentenced him to an additional 19 years on extremism charges widely seen as politically motivated. That came on top of 11 1/2 years he was already serving.

Associates say the opposition figure — who narrowly survived a 2020 poisoning attack — has been in poor health again recently.

They also insist the timing of his apparent disappearance is no accident — coming just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he would seek reelection when the country holds a vote in March.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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