The Russian opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was transferred to a nearby police station after his arrest at the airport in Moscow on Sunday evening. This is what Ivan Zhdanov, a colleague of Navalny, reports Twitter. It is not known how he is doing now.
Russian police arrested the 44-year-old activist on Sunday at passport control after returning to Russia, after he had been in Germany for five months after being poisoned with the nerve poison novichock.
His arrest is widely criticized from abroad. The United States, through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has the action convicted. “We note with great concern that his detention is the latest in a series of attempts to silence Navalny and other opposition members and independent opinion leaders who criticize the Russian authorities.”
Jake Sullivan, security adviser to incoming President Joe Biden, said that Russia must immediately release the opposition member.
Italy demands that Navalny be released immediately. “The arrest upon his arrival in Russia is a very serious matter which worries us. (…) We expect his rights to be respected”, tweeted Minister Luigi Di Maio of Foreign Affairs.
European President Charles Michel and foreign chief Josep Borrell have also previously criticized the arrest, as have the EU Member States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The latter three want Europe to take measures against Moscow.
Navalny expected arrest
The authorities argue that Navalny has failed to comply with a suspended prison sentence imposed for embezzlement. He is now in danger of being put in jail for years, according to his lawyer. In 2014 he was awarded 3.5 years for misappropriating money from companies.
According to Navaly, the threat of imprisonment by the Russian authorities hoped to dissuade him from returning. He is a thorn in the side of Putin and other high-ranking Russians. Through his channels he often targets influential people in and around the Kremlin.
Navalny was poisoned during a trip to Siberia in August last year. He was taken to a hospital in Germany to recover. Navalny and his supporters hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for the assassination attempt on his life in August.
Moscow has always denied this, even after extensive research by the journalists collective Bellingcat and a video from Navalny in which a former member of the FSB security service admits to having been ordered to kill him.