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UK sanctions 6 Russian officials at prison where Navalny died

Police officers detain a man as people come to the monument to the victims of political repressions to lay flowers for late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Saint Petersburg on Feb. 17, 2024, one day after the death of Navalny in an Arctic prison.  (Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS)
By Alex Wickham and Kitty Donaldson Bloomberg News

The U.K. government announced a sanctions package targeting prison officials at the penal colony where Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny died.

Six Russian officials working at the IK-3 penal colony in the Arctic, nicknamed Polar Wolf, will be subject to asset freezes and travel bans, the Foreign Office said in an emailed statement that confirmed an earlier report by Bloomberg.

“It’s clear that the Russian authorities saw Navalny as a threat and they tried repeatedly to silence him,” Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in the statement. “That’s why we’re today sanctioning the most senior prison officials responsible for his custody in the penal colony where he spent his final months. Those responsible for Navalny’s brutal treatment should be under no illusion – we will hold them accountable.”

While it’s unclear exactly how Navalny died, U.K. officials have concluded the guards at the prison subjected Navalny to conditions tantamount to torture by repeatedly holding him in solitary confinement, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg earlier.

The Russians targeted by sanctions were ultimately responsible for Navalny’s death, they said.

Britain isn’t alone in planning fresh sanctions on Russia over the death of Navalny, a Russian lawyer and opponent of President Vladimir Putin who died in prison on Friday. The White House said Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s U.S. administration will announce on Friday a “major” sanctions package to hold Russia accountable for Navalny’s death.