Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s location inside the prison system remains unknown and he again did not show up at a court hearing by video link, Kira Yarmysh, his spokesperson, said on Tuesday.

His allies said on Monday that Navalny had been removed from the penal colony where he had been imprisoned since the middle of last year and that his current whereabouts were unknown.

They had been preparing for his expected transfer to a “special regime” colony, the harshest grade in Russia’s prison system, after he was sentenced in August to an additional 19 years in prison on top of 11-1/2 years he was already serving.

The process of moving prisoners by rail across Russia’s vast territory can take weeks, with lawyers and family unable to obtain information about their location and well-being until they reach their destination. It was unclear if Navalny was already in transit to a new prison.

Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesperson, said on Monday that staff at the IK-6 facility in Melekhovo, 235 km (145 miles) east of Moscow, had told his lawyer waiting outside that Navalny was no longer among its inmates.

On Tuesday, Yarmysh wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter:

“Today Alexei was again not brought to court to appear by video link, but now nobody is talking nonsense about an ‘electricity accident’. An employee of penal colony-6 stated that Alexei had ‘left their colony, but that he allegedly did not know where he had been transferred to,” she wrote.

Yarmysh suggested that an initial explanation given for six days that an electricity problem had been responsible for his non-appearance had been a ruse by the authorities to play for time.

There was no immediate comment from Russia’s prison service.

Navalny’s disappearance comes at the start of the campaign period for a presidential election in March at which Vladimir Putin is expected to win another six-year term.