Court orders detention of poisoned Putin critic Navalny for 30 days

Posted by News Express | 18 January 2021 | 724 times

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•Russia's leading opposition figure, Alexei Navalny

 

Russia's leading opposition figure has been arrested and detained for 30 days, after returning to Moscow for the first time since he was poisoned last year.

Mr Navalny said a court ruling held inside a police station was a mockery and called for street protests.

He was held soon after his flight from Germany landed in Moscow on Sunday.

Russian prosecutors say he violated the parole terms of a suspended sentence for embezzlement. He says the charges are politically motivated.

Last August, Mr Navalny, 44, was almost killed in a nerve agent attack, which he blamed personally on Russan President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin denies involvement. The opposition politician's allegations have, however, been backed up by reports from investigative journalists.

On Sunday, big crowds gathered at Moscow's Vnukovo airport to greet Mr Navalny's flight from Berlin - but in a last-minute decision the authorities re-routed the plane to another airport in the capital.

A makeshift courtroom was organised on Monday at a police station in Khimki, on the outskirts of Moscow, where Mr Navalny had spent the night.

The judge ordered Mr Navalny's detention until 15 February for violating his parole. He will have another hearing on 29 January to determine whether his suspended sentence of three-and-a-half years should be replaced with a jail term.

Mr Navalny said his treatment was beyond a "mockery of justice" and described the hearing as "lawlessness of the highest grade".

"Don't be afraid. Take to the streets, not for me, but for yourselves, for your future," he said in a video address (in Russian) from the police station.

Dozens of Navalny supporters gathered outside the police station in freezing weather, demanding his immediate release.

Mr Navalny was later seen led away by police to one of Moscow's prisons.

Mr Navalny's lawyer Vadim Kobzev said they would appeal against the "illegal" court decision, according to Russia's Interfax news agency. (Text, excluding headline, courtesy BBC)


Source: News Express

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