Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is on a nationwide wanted list for allegedly violating the terms of a suspended prison sentence and facing three and a half years in jail upon his return to Russia this weekend one of his lawyers said Thursday.
Navalny announced on Wednesday that he plans to return to Russia on Sunday for the first time since being poisoned in August with a Novichok nerve agent, despite the risk of being jailed upon his return from Germany.
The Kremlin denies any involvement in his poisoning, said it had seen no evidence that he was poisoned, and said he was free to return to Russia at any time.
Navalny on Wednesday ignored the growing list of legal threats, calling criminal charges against him – at least two of which are ongoing – fabricated to thwart his political ambitions.
Vadim Kobzev, one of Navalny’s lawyers, told Reuters on Thursday that Navalny had now been placed on a national wanted list because Russian prison services accused him of not reporting to them at the end of the week. ‘last year in connection with a suspended sentence for embezzlement he served.
Navalny said the original case against him was trumped up and he was then in Germany on an outpatient basis for his poisoning and therefore could not attend. The prison service said he was released from a Berlin hospital in September and therefore should have returned to Moscow and reported to them.
“In theory, they can detain him upon his arrival (in Russia) but initially only for 48 hours,” said Kobzev, who said he expected a court to hear the details of the case on. January 29, the date on which he could order his suspended sentence to be converted into an actual prison sentence.
“The court can change his whole suspended sentence to a real one and give him three and a half years in prison,” Kobzev said.
Leonid Volkov, an ally of Navalny, said Navalny would become the world’s foremost political prisoner if jailed, comparing him to Nelson Mandela, and said he would become a symbol of resistance in the Kremlin.
The Kremlin, which refers to Navalny only as “the Berlin patient”, says it is up to the relevant law enforcement to decide how he is treated.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)