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Jailed Ex-Chief Of Navalny Support Group In Bashkortostan Transferred To Moscow


Activist Lilia Chanysheva (file photo)

UFA, Russia -- The arrested former leader of a regional organization for jailed opposition activist Aleksei Navalny in Russia's Bashkortostan has been transferred to a detention center in the Moscow region.

The lawyer for Lilia Chanysheva told RFE/RL that he was unable to meet with his client in a detention center in Bashkortostan's capital, Ufa, on November 22 because of the move.

"The officials in Detention Center No.1 in Ufa told me that she was transferred to Detention Center No. 6 in the Moscow region. No further details were given," lawyer Sergei Makarenko said, adding that the transfer occurred without preliminary notice.

Chanysheva's husband, Almaz Gatin, told RFE/RL that he had not been informed of his wife's transfer to the Moscow region, almost 1,500 kilometers away.

Adding to the confusion, there are two facilities named Detention Center No. 6 in the Moscow region: one in the Russian capital and another in a city nearby. It was not clear which facility Chanysheva was being held in.

Neither officials at the detention center in Ufa nor representatives of the Federal Penitentiary Service would comment on Chanysheva's transfer.

In Russia, suspects are usually held and tried in the towns and cities where they allegedly committed crimes.

Earlier this month, Chanysheva was jailed until at least January 9 on extremism charges in what legal experts have called an unusual prosecution that appeared to target her retroactively for supposed crimes.

Chanysheva headed the local unit of Navalny's network of regional campaign groups until his team disbanded them after a Moscow prosecutor went to court to have them branded extremist. A court later accepted the prosecutor's appeal, and labeled the national network extremist, effectively outlawing them.

Defense lawyer Vladimir Voronin said Chanysheva's arrest was the first of its kind since the movement was banned. The charges appear to be retroactive since the organization she worked for disbanded before it had been legally classified as extremist, he said.

Navalny himself has been in prison since February, while several of his associates have been charged with establishing an extremist group. Many of them have fled the country.

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