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Poisoned Russian dissident detained after returning to Moscow
Alexei Navalny’s next heroic act
Alexei Navalny returning to Russia despite poisoning, jail threat
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A Russian judge ruled Monday that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who was detained after arriving from Germany late Sunday, must remain in pretrial detention for 30 days.
“The court arrested Navalny for 30 days. Until February 15,” the judge’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter after the hastily organized hearing at a police station in Khimki on the outskirts of Moscow.
The 44-year-old dissident was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after he arrived from Berlin, where he had been treated following a poisoning that he had blamed on the Kremlin.
Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said the ruling “cannot even be called a parody of the rule of law.”
“They detained him at the border, took him to places unknown, his lawyer was not granted access, the hearing was carried out urgently right in the police station and he was detained for 30 days,” Yarmysh said.
The United Nations and Western nations urged Russia to immediately free the opposition leader, while some countries called for new sanctions, according to Reuters.
After the court’s ruling, Navalny urged people to take to the streets in protest.
“Don’t be afraid, take to the streets. Don’t go out for me, go out for yourself and your future,” Navalny said in footage posted on YouTube.
German Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz also called on the Kremlin to free Navalny, saying his detention had been illegal.
“In Russia, the role of the state should have been to protect him, not to arrest him and hastily put him on trial,” Scholz said, adding that he considered Navalny as a brave man who was fighting for civil rights.
“And that’s why I demand the immediate release of Mr. Navalny. That’s important for the democratic development of Russia,” Scholz added.
Earlier Monday, Navalny said his treatment was beyond a “mockery of justice.
“I’ve seen a lot of mockery of justice, but the old man in the bunker (President Putin) is so afraid that they have blatantly torn up and thrown away” Russia’s criminal code, he said.
Russia had issued a warrant for the Navalny’s arrest last week, saying he had violated the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement.
The prison service had asked the court to unsuspend Navalny’s 3 1/2-year sentence and put him behind bars.
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