Jailed Russian opposition leader and prominent Putin critic Alexei Navalny is reportedly missing from prison, his legal team has said.
“We are deeply concerned about these reports,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Monday, adding “he should be released immediately.”
His whereabouts have been unknown for six days, and his team has been unable to see him at court appearances, where he typically appears by video. Prison staff have cited “electricity issues” as the cause of Navalny’s absence, but his legal team doubts the veracity of those claims, saying Russian authorities were mocking them.
His lawyer wrote on X that they were informed he wasn’t in the IK-6 or IK-7 penal colonies. He was previously imprisoned in the IK-6 colony near Moscow.
Navalny received a 19-year prison sentence in August, after he was found guilty of extremism. The term added to his already-lengthy prison sentence, and was widely condemned by world leaders.
The Kremlin has long targeted Navalny’s organization, The Anti-Corruption Foundation. Members of the foundation have said that Navalny was in poor health in prison, and in April, said they suspected he had been poisoned.