Thursday, September 21, 2023

Russia jails Navalny for 30 days; Kremlin enemy calls for protests | Political news

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The main opposition figure is now expected to remain in jail until February 15 after a dramatic airport arrest.

A Russian court has ordered Alexey Navalny to be placed in pre-trial detention for 30 days, a move that will escalate tensions between Moscow and Western leaders who are call for the release of the critic of the Kremlin.

Monday’s verdict was delivered in a courtroom set up at the Khimki police station on the outskirts of Moscow.

Navalny was arrested on Sunday evening, upon his return to Russia for the first time since he was allegedly poisoned last year.

Following Monday’s hearing, Navalny called on people to protest the decision and the Russian authorities.

In a video clip posted to YouTube, Navalny said, “Don’t be afraid, take to the streets. Do not go out for me, go out for yourself and for your future.

His arrest at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport was ordered by the Russian Prison Service, which said he had violated the terms of a suspended prison sentence he imposed in 2014.

Navalny says the embezzlement charges linked to the 2014 case are politically motivated.

He will now remain in prison until at least February 15, with a different court tasked with deciding whether to convert his three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence to an actual prison sentence.

Al Jazeera’s Aleksandra Godfroid, who reports from Moscow, said Navalny would be transferred to a “remand center” following Monday’s decision and said his custody could be further extended beyond 30 days .

“He will remain in prison pending his hearing,” she said. “We can probably expect this hearing to take place by the end of the month, although that’s not sure.

‘A mockery of justice’

Navalny aides said the 44-year-old was denied access to his lawyers and was briefed at the last minute of Monday’s hearing.

In a video recorded from inside the police station, Navalny himself said he was “facing a mockery from the courts” and lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of having threw the penal code out of the window out of fear.

The Kremlin was due to comment on his case later on Monday, but usually refers questions about Navalny to law enforcement.

Navalny’s arrest on his return from Berlin, where he was treated following the alleged intoxication in August which he attributes to the Kremlin, prompted conviction European and world powers.

Foreign ministers from Germany, Britain, France and Italy called for Navalny’s release, while Lithuania says it will call on the European Union to quickly impose new sanctions to Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the expressions of outrage, saying they were designed to distract their own citizens from domestic issues.

He said the Navalny affair had acquired an artificial resonance in the West and that Moscow was not surprised at the potential damage to its image.

“We should probably think about our image, but we are not young girls going to the ball,” Lavrov told reporters.


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