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Russian Court Orders Opposition Leader Navalny to Stay in Prison

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MOSCOW — A Russian court on Saturday rejected an appeal by the opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, clearing the way for his possible transfer to the country’s penal colony system.

The ruling was expected. Russian officials had signaled since before Mr. Navalny returned from Germany, where he was being treated for a near-lethal poisoning with a nerve agent last year, that his homecoming would land him in a prison.

Under Russia’s criminal justice system, transferring an inmate to the penal colonies is a lengthy process of travel on a specialized prisoner train wagon. It can begin at any point after a court rejects the first appeal of a sentencing, which happened on Saturday.

The trip can take weeks, with stops at transfer prisons, during which inmates are generally not allowed to contact lawyers or family members. Their destination sometimes remains unknown until they arrive.

Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting.

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