EU and US Demand Release of Vladmir Putin Critic, Alexei Navalny

EU and US demand release of Vladmir Putin critic

 

EU and US has demanded release of Alexei Navalny, Vladmir Putin critic. The US and the European Union have asked that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny be released from custody.

Soon after his flight from Germany arrived in Moscow on Sunday, Navalny, 44, a thorn in Putin’s flesh for the last decade, was arrested.

Navalny has been a huge critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s, with the international community concerned over his safety in the country.

A joint report by CNN and the Bellingcat organization implicated the Russian Security Service (FSB) in the poisoning following his poisoning with military-grade Novichok in August, when the investigation revealed how an elite unit at the secret agency accompanied Navalny’s team on a trip to Siberia, where Navalny was poisoned and fell ill on a flight to Moscow.

The inquiry also found that Navalny had been accompanied by this team, which included chemical weapons experts, on more than 30 trips to and from Moscow since 2017.

About the fact that Russia is the only country that still manufactures and possesses Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent that paralyzes and inevitably kills a person who ingests it, Russia totally denies involvement in Navalny’s poisoning.EU and US demand release of Vladmir Putin critic

In December, Putin said that if Russian security forces decided to destroy Navalny, they would have “would have finished” the work.

An articulate, fearless author, Navalny has millions of Russian social media followers and managed to have some fans elected to Siberia’s city councils in 2020.

In the 2018 presidential election, he wanted to vote, but was barred because of an embezzlement prosecution that he claims was racially motivated.

The Russian prison service reported that the Kremlin critic had broken the terms of his suspended sentence for embezzlement, and that after a court decision he would remain in jail.

Court hearing was put up on Monday, January 18th. It took place at a police station on the outskirts of Moscow. Navalny characterized the hearing as “lawlessness of the highest grade” in a video released by his spokeswoman.

The US and European Union have called for the release of Mr Navalny, but have fallen short of threatening any legal measures.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Russian authorities were seeking to censor their opponents, while US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the “attacks on Mr Navalny this is not only a human rights infringement, but an affront to the Russians who want their voices to be heard

Among others still asking for his release were France, Italy, Germany and the Head of the European Commission.

The arrest of Mr Navalny was described by UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab as “appalling”

Russia’s foreign minister has denied the detention conviction.

Sergei Lavrov said the situation was being used by Western leaders to “divert attention” from domestic issues.

Navalny said after emerging from therapy that he wanted to return to Russia.

On Sunday January 17th, he went back home in spite of warnings he would face arrest upon landing.

Shortly before landing, the pilot declared that the aircraft was being diverted from Vnukovo airport, where thousands of supporters of Navalny had gathered, to Sheremetyevo airport for “technical reasons” causing a stir among the mainly journalistic passengers.

After taking a ride in a bus, coming from the plane heading to the airport, he reportedly made it known to journalist around him he’s not afraid and was so glad to return home.

EU and US demand release of Vladmir Putin critic

He allegedly said to the border control officer with a grin as he approached passport control with his wife Yulia: “You must have been waiting for me for a long time!” And it was probably valid.

A few minutes later, masked policemen ordered him to join them otherwise “force” would have to be used.

Later, the protester was taken to the Moscow Police Station, where he spent the night.

The opposition leader “had been wanted since 29 December 2020 for repeated violations of the probation period” pertaining to his suspended term for embezzlement, Russia’s prison service reported.

Separately, a new court lawsuit against Navalny has been opened by Russian authorities on bribery charges linked to money transfers to numerous organisations, including his Anti-Corruption Fund.

Putin also says that Alexei Navalny is not popular with the Russian people and he is not a significant competitor, but a big police action on Sunday, January 17, sparked his return home five months after being poisoned.

In violent clashes, Navalny’s supporters were pushed out of the arrivals hall at Vnukovo airport by riot police before the flight was redirected.

Political analysts believe his decision to go back home is a close confrontation to Vladimir Putin -and that creates a dilemma for the Kremlin.

 

Credit: RNZ

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