Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Detained After Returning to Russia

Russian police have detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny shortly after landing in Moscow in a flight from Germany where he spent five months recovering from being poisoned with nerve agent Novichok.

Russian police have detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny shortly after landing in Moscow in a flight from Germany where he spent five months recovering from being poisoned with nerve agent Novichok.

Police arrested Navalny, who boarded a Pobeda Airlines flight from Berlin despite being warned of possible arrest, at the passport control in the Sheremetyevo airport.

According to the statement released by the Federal Penitentiary Service on Jan. 17, Nalvany “had been wanted since 29 December 2020 for repeated violations of the probation period,” which authorities imposed after accusing him of fraud, alleging that he spent the money raised in several charities, including his Anti-Corruption Foundation, on personal needs. 

The statement also said that he “will be held in custody” until a court decision.

According to Navanly’s Spokesperson Kira Yarmysh, Navalny is being held at a police station in Khimki, a city north of Central Moscow. She also said that the police refused Navalny access to his lawyer.

Upon his arrival and before his arrest, Navalny said in a live footage from Russian broadcaster TV Rain, “All the criminal cases are fabricated. Not only the truth is on my side, but also the court. I’m not afraid of anything and I urge you not to be afraid of anything.”

Officials from Europe and the United States condemned Navalny’s arrest and called for Russian authorities to “immediately” release him.

“The detainment of Alexey Navalny upon arrival in Moscow is unacceptable. I call on Russian authorities to immediately release him,” European Council President Charles Michel stated in a tweet.

“The United States strongly condemns Russia’s decision to arrest Aleksey Navalny,” U.S. State Secretary Michael Pompeo said in a statement.

“Aleksey Navalny is not the problem. We demand his immediate and unconditional release,” Pompeo further stated.


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