Jailed Kremlin critic Navalny poked fun at prison officials by demanding moonshine and a kangaroo


MOSCOW (AP) – Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Friday released excerpts of his correspondence with prison officials, detailing his sarcastic demands for things like a bottle of moonshine, a balalaika and even a kangaroo. His applications were rejected.

Responses from prison officials, apparently released by his team on his social media account, came after he spent nearly 180 days in solitary confinement at Penal Colony No. 6 in the Vladimir region east of Moscow since last summer.

Navalny, 46, is is serving a nine-year sentence After his conviction for fraud and contempt of court, he says, charges were laid that stemmed from his efforts to expose official corruption and organize anti-Kremlin protests. He was arrested in January 2021 while returning to Moscow after recovering in Germany from neurotoxin poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin.

“If you are in a penal isolation cell and have little entertainment, you can enjoy correspondence with the administration,” Navalny wrote.

His rejected requests included giving the prisoner in a nearby cell a megaphone “so he can shout even louder” and giving another inmate who “killed a man with his bare hands” the highest rank in karate.

His request for moonshine, roll-your-own tobacco and balalaika was also denied. But Navalny expressed particular feigned outrage at the administration’s refusal to allow him to keep a kangaroo in his cell. The politician said prisoners could have a pet if the prison administration allowed it.

“I will continue to fight for my inalienable right to own a kangaroo,” Navalny wrote sarcastically in his social media post.

Navalny is celebrating his 47th birthday on Sunday and his team have called for protests to support him.

A Moscow court has Set a date for a June 6 hearing for a new trial against Navalny on extremism charges that could keep him in prison for 30 years. He also said an investigator told him he faces a separate court-martial on terrorism charges, which could carry a life sentence.

The new charges come at a time when Russian authorities are stepping up crackdowns on those who think differently in the wake of the fighting in Ukraine, which Navalny has harshly criticized.

Associated Press writer Elise Morton in London contributed.

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