On Friday, the United States government said that Russian authorities had violated the rights of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny by denying him access to his lawyers and placing him in prolonged periods of isolation.
The most domestically strident adversary of President Putin, Navalny is currently serving nine years in prison on accusations he claims are politically motivated.
The State Department sent a statement late Friday night expressing “grave concern” at “the Russian Government’s growing, arbitrary interference with Aleksey Navalny’s rights.”
The organisation claimed jail officials had impeded Navalny’s right to a fair trial by monitoring his contact with his attorneys and slowing down the flow of information.
Further evidence of politically motivated harassment, the statement continued, “this interference, together with his recurrent diversion to solitary detention for minor purported breaches, is further evidence of solitary confinement.”
The 46-year-old detained near the town of Vladimir, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Moscow, has recently claimed that he was kept in solitary confinement on multiple times as punishment, including for attempting to organize a union at the prison where he is being held.
According to the State Department, Moscow’s “insistence on tormenting him further only demonstrates its uneasiness and fear of individuals who speak the truth” in light of Navalny’s incarceration, which they describe as “already disgraceful.”
Earlier this week, independent Russian media released photos of the father of two that show him looking thin and fatigued.
Also, his helpers are worried because they can’t keep tabs on him because of the new communication protocols.