Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Monday that prison authorities had changed his status from “risk of escape” to “extremist” and “terrorist”.
Navalny was called before a prison commission – “the biggest … I’ve ever seen” – which unanimously voted for the change.
The Kremlin critic joked about his Instagram account that the “news is good” because the classification as an escape risk brings more “accounting” with it. He said he was “terribly tired” of videotaping his presence every two hours.
According to Navalny, 70 percent of those classified as “extremists” in prison are Muslims. Others are nationalists or football fans, he added.
Navalny was arrested in Moscow in January after returning from Germany, where he was treated after his treatment poisoned with a neurotoxin. The 45-year-old was sentenced to prison two years and eight months for alleged violations of probation conditions.
In June, a Russian court banned Navalny’s organizations, including his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), from operating, calling them “extremist”.
In September, the Russian Investigation Committee opened another criminal case against Navalny and his allies, accusing him of creating an “extremist group”. If convicted, Navalny could be jailed 10 more years.