A trial for Alexey Navalny was postponed Tuesday after the Russian opposition leader, already reported missing by his team, failed to show up in court.
Navalny spokesperson spokesperson Kira Yarmysh sounded the alarm on Monday saying that attempts by his lawyers to contact him had failed at each of the two penal colonies where he’s believed to be incarcerated.
“We still don’t know where Alexey is,” Yarmysh wrote on social media on Monday.
According to Yarmysh a prison employee has claimed that Navalny had “left their colony” but she was unable to confirm his whereabouts on Tuesday.
And in his own social media post Tuesday, Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation said that the judge at Tuesday’s scheduled trial asked where Navalny was, and was directed to the Federal Penitentiary service.
“Alexey is known all over the world. It’s impossible to imagine that no one knows where he is,” Zhdanov wrote, promising a “reward for reliable and complete information.”
Navalny, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critics, was sentenced to 19 years in prison this past August amid his fifth criminal trial. He was already serving combined sentences of 11.5 years in what his supporters call the Kremlin’s attempts to silence opposition to Putin’s regime.
Navalny has campaigned from prison against Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine and has attempted to mobilize public opposition to the war.
In April Navalny said he’d suspected a mysterious illness he was suffering was linked to slow-action poisoning in the food he was served in the penal colony.
The now-47-year-old Navalny was arrested in January 2021 upon a return to Russia from Germany—where he had just spent five months being treated for a poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. A joint investigation by CNN and the investigative group Bellingcat implicated the Russian intelligence agency FSB in that poisoning of Navalny, though the Kremlin has denied the accusation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on a conference call with reporters Tuesday strongly objected to U.S. intervention after the White House said it was “deeply concerned” about Navalny’s disappearance.
“We are talking here about one prisoner who, according to the law, was found guilty and is serving his sentence, and in this case, we consider any intervention by anyone, including the United States of America, unacceptable and impossible,” Peskov said.