Wed. Mar 3rd, 2021

By DARIA LITVINOVA, The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) – When he arrived in Moscow after the arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, he was criticized by Westerners after consuming poison with a nerve agent and for his release, Germany’s foreign minister on Monday termed it unforgivable. .

Navalny was detained under passport control at Moscow’s Sheremayevo airport after flying in from Berlin on Sunday evening, where he was treated after consuming poison in August to attack the Kremlin.

Navalny’s arrest has added another layer of tension to relations between Moscow and the West that have long been tense and were worsened by their toxicity.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas noted that Navalny made his return voluntarily, adding that “it is not fully understood that he was detained by Russian authorities soon after his arrival.”

“Russia is bound by its own constitution and principles of rule of law and international commitments to the protection of civil rights,” Das said. “These principles must also be applied to Alexi Navalni. He should be released immediately. “

The politician’s aides said that on Monday he was being held in a police courtyard outside Moscow and was denied access to his lawyer. According to Navalny’s lawyers, in an unexpected turn of events, a court heard whether Navalny should remain in custody, which began on Monday, and he was informed minutes earlier.

In the video from the improvised court room posted on her page in the messaging app Telegram, Navalny said, “It is impossible what is happening here.” “It is the highest degree of chaos.”

Calls for Navalny’s immediate release have also come from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, and top officials of other EU nations.

US President-Elect Joe Biden’s pick for National Security Advisor called on Russian officials to free Navalny. “Mr. Navalny should be released immediately, and the perpetrators of the abusive attack on his life should be held accountable,” tweeted Jake Sullivan.

The outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States has strongly condemned the decision to arrest the Navy.

Navalny’s detention was widely expected as Russia’s Prison Service said it violated probation conditions from a suspended sentence on a 2014 money-laundering sentence.

The Prison Service said it would try to get Navalni to serve her three and a half year sentence behind bars.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that the stream of reactions by Naval authorities to Navalny’s arrest reflects “an effort to divert attention from the crisis of the Western model of development”.

“Navalny’s case has gained a foreign policy dimension artificially and without any basis,” Lavrov said, his detention was a prerogative of Russian law enforcement agencies that explained his action. “It’s a matter of following the law,” he said.

The 44-year-old, President Vladimir Putin’s biggest and firm enemy, Navalny, dispelled concerns over the arrest as he boarded his flight to Berlin on Sunday.

“It is impossible. I am an innocent man,” he said.

Navalni fell into a coma on 20 August on a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow. Two days later he was transferred from a hospital in Siberia to a hospital in Berlin.

Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests conducted by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons established that he was exposed to the Novichok nerve agent of the Soviet era.

Russian officials insisted that doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia before treatment in Germany could not find any trace of poison. Russia refused to open a full-fledged criminal investigation citing lack of evidence of poisoning Navalny, and authorities have challenged Germany to provide evidence of poisoning.

Last month, Navalny released a recording of a phone call in which he said he accused a man who was a member of a group of officials of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, who allegedly poisoned him in August. And then tried to cover it. The FSB dismissed the recording as fake.

Navalny has been a thorn in favor of the Kremlin for a decade, unusually durable in the opposition movement, often demolished with repression. Russian authorities have launched several criminal investigations against him, and he has been convicted and convicted in two separate criminal cases, widely believed to be politically motivated.

In December 2014, Navalny was convicted on charges of fraud and money-laundering and received a 3-year suspended sentence, which he said was politically motivated and was found by the European Human Rights Court to be “arbitrary and manifestly unfair” after three years. .

The conviction brought a probation period to end in December 2020. Officials said the politician was under regular personal scrutiny with law enforcement officials.

Russia’s prison service first accused the navy of not appearing for these investigations on December 28, two days before the end of the investigation period.

Navalny and his team dismissed the allegations, saying the move was an attempt by the Kremlin to stop the politician from returning to Russia.

Three days before returning to Moscow, the Prison Service alleged in a statement that Navalny repeatedly failed to appear for the check in which she was sentenced in Germany, adding that it was “to detain the politician” Was obliged to take action “.

Navalny had repeatedly said that he would return to Russia despite threats of arrest, noting that he would not leave the country by choice, but rather “ended up in an intensive care box in Germany,” adding that he still Is dedicated to its purpose.

“I will go back to Russia, I will continue my work. In October Navalny said that no other possibility has been considered or is being considered.

Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and Geyer Molson in Berlin contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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