Russian judge asked to jail Kremlin critic Navalny in abstentia

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2021

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he will return to Russia on Sunday, five months after he was evacuated to Germany following an assassination attempt.

Top Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny says he plans to go home to Russian Federation next weekend despite the authorities' threats to put him once again behind bars.

Navalny, who has been convalescing in Germany from an August poisoning with a nerve agent that he has blamed on the Kremlin, charged that Russian President Vladimir Putin was now trying to deter him from coming home with new legal motions.

The Russian opposition leader and fierce Kremlin critic was airlifted to Germany for treatment in August after collapsing on a plane.

Court documents published Tuesday showed Russia's federal penitentiary service has asked a court to convert Navalny's suspended sentence to real jail time, even though the suspended sentence had already expired on December 30.

I ended up in Germany after arriving in an intensive care box for one reason: "they tried to kill me", Navalny wrote on Instagram.

Navalny is Russia's most prominent opposition leader and has always been a thorn in the Kremlin's side, publishing high-profile investigations into alleged corruption among powerful officials and building a grass-roots protest movement.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia's arrests and detention of Navalny in 2012 and 2014 were politically motivated. Navalny has also dismissed those accusations as crudely fabricated.

"Putin is so furious I survived his poisoning that he ordered the FSIN to go to court and demand that my suspended prison sentence be changed to a real one", Navalny tweeted. "The only thing left for Putin to do is to put up a giant billboard on top of the Kremlin saying, 'Alexei, please don't return home under any circumstances!'"

"It wasn't my choice to come to Germany", Navalny said. He was transferred from a hospital in Siberia to a Berlin hospital two days later.

A German military lab later found he had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, a chemical weapon developed by the Soviet Union and used in a 2018 assassination attempt against the Russian former double agent Sergey Skripal in the United Kingdom.

In recent weeks, Navalny said the investigative group Bellingcat recently uncovered evidence that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) was behind his poisoning.

Other reports by iNewsToday