Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin to spend nearly a month in a punishment cell — Novaya Gazeta Europe

Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin to spend nearly a month in a punishment cell

Ilya Yashin. Photo: Antonina Favorskaya

Ilya Yashin. Photo: Antonina Favorskaya

Jailed Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin has been ordered to spend another 12 days in a punishment cell, having just completed a 15-day stint, his team wrote on his Telegram channel on Tuesday.

Yashin is now due to spend 27 consecutive days in isolation following a disciplinary commission’s decision to extend his stay by another 12 days on Friday. Yashin had apparently removed his prison robe after taking a shower in order to change his T-shirt, an act deemed to have “violated the prison dress code”.

Often equated to solitary confinement, punishment cells are effectively prisons within a prison, where inmates are forced to endure far harsher conditions. Under Russian law, a prisoner cannot be placed in a punishment cell for more than 15 days at a time, but prison officials tend to bypass this restriction by handing inmates fresh punishments upon their release, citing new violations.

Russian prison authorities often use punishment cell terms to psychologically torture political prisoners. Late opposition leader Alexey Navalny spent over 300 days in punishment cells before his sudden death in February, the effects of which are widely believed to have contributed to his death. Fellow opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is serving a 25-year term for treason, was sent to a punishment cell at least five times in 2023, raising concerns for his already poor health.

Yashin was handed an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence in December 2022 for spreading “false information” about the Russian military after he spoke out about the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha in March of the same year.

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