Return immediately or face jail

MOSCOW – The Russian prison service on Monday gave the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny at the last minute: fly back from Germany immediately and report early Tuesday morning to an office in Moscow, or be jailed if you return after the deadline.

Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin’s leading critics, was transported to Germany for treatment in August after crashing on a plane in what Germany and other Western countries said was an attempt to use a Novichok nerve agent. to kill.

Russia has said it has not seen any evidence that he was poisoned and that he has not denied any involvement in the incident.

The Federal Prison Service (FSIN) on Monday accused Navalny of violating the terms of a suspended prison sentence he is still serving due to a conviction dating back to 2014, and of evading the supervision of the Russian penal authority.

Referring to an article in the British medical publication The Lancet about his treatment, it is said that Navalny was discharged from hospital in Berlin on September 20 and that all symptoms of what he calls his illness disappeared on October 12.

“The convicted man therefore does not fulfill all the obligations imposed on him by the court, and evades the supervision of the Criminal Inspectorate,” he said.

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Navalny is serving a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for a theft case that he said was politically motivated. His probationary period expires on December 30th.

The prison service said in a statement late Monday that it had summoned Navalny to report to the inspectorate and that his suspended sentence could change to an actual jail sentence if it is proven that his alleged violations of the terms of the suspended sentence where is. .

The prison service does not mention a deadline, but Navalny posted a screenshot of a message to his lawyer in which he said he had until 09:00 on Tuesday to return and show up at an office in Moscow.

His spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter that it was impossible for Navalny to return in time, that he was still recovering from his poisoning, and accused the prison service of acting on behalf of the Kremlin.

“There is no way he will be able to appear at the Criminal Inspectorate in Moscow tomorrow. But does the FSIN really care about common sense? They have received an order, and it is being complied with,” she wrote.

The Kremlin said Navalny was free to return to Russia at any time like any other Russian citizen.