The Final Hearing of Alexei Navalny

The Final Hearing of Alexei Navalny

File size: 8045px x 1894px
Print: 27" x 6” @300 dpi
Electronic painting

An electronic painting of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny's final remote court appearance on 15 February, 2024, a day before his death. Navalny addressed the court in Kovrov from behind bars at the Polar Wolf penal colony in Kharp, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, 1,719 km away where he was serving a 19 year sentence for extremism.

The online news outlet SOTA reported that the court session was convened after a dispute with a prison officer who tried to confiscate Navalny's writing materials. Navalny wrote later on Thursday that he had been given 15 days in solitary confinement.

Navalny facetiously pleaded with the judge, "Your Honour, I will send you my personal account number so that you can use your huge salary as a federal judge to 'warm up' my personal account, because I am running out of money".

After the hearing, Navalny wrote on X "The Yamal prison decided to break Vladimir's record of fawning and pleasing the Moscow authorities. They just gave me 15 days in solitary confinement. This is the fourth solitary confinement spell in less than 2 months that I have been with them."

It was the last such message he wrote, a day later, Russia's prison service said he had died after collapsing and losing consciousness at the penal colony north of the Arctic Circle where he was serving a long jail term despite appearing in good health and spirits during the hearing. His mother was told that he died of "sudden death syndrome" a term for different cardiac syndromes that cause sudden cardiac arrest and death.1

Maria Pevchikh, a Russian investigative journalist, reported that Navalny was killed because he was close to being freed in a prisoner swap.

An inmate of the Polar Wolf colony noted highly unusual activity at the prison on the evening of 15 February, which seemed to indicate a surprise prison inspection. He stated that the prisoners were locked in their barracks and a search was conducted on the morning of 16 February. The prisoner stated that they were informed about Navalny's death at 10:00, well before the press release on Navalny's death. The prisoner also noted that first aid had only appeared after Navalny was already known to be dead. The prisoner's interpretation of the events was that Navalny had likely died on the evening of 15 February, and that it had been a surprise to prison authorities. According to human rights group, an official report states that several cameras in the penal colony were inactive on 16 February. interpreted this as the result of FSB officers arriving at the prison on 14 February and disabling audio and video monitoring equipment. stated that there were bruises on Navalny's body, which the medical examiner carrying out an autopsy on the body was told to attribute as having occurred post-mortem.2

1Reuters: Navalny was struck down with 'sudden death syndrome', his mother was told at Russian prison
2 Wikipedia Death and Funeral of Alexei Navalny