A Russian court ruled on Monday that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny will remain in custody for the next 30 days. Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesman confirms the news Twitter.
The 44-year-old Navalny returned to Russia from Germany on Sunday and was immediately arrested. Prosecutors demanded that he remain in custody because he allegedly violated the conditions of release. The Russian opposition leader has previously received prison sentences in controversial criminal cases about fraud, but was not sent to prison under certain conditions.
Navalny has called on his followers via YouTube to “be not afraid” and “take to the streets”. Extra police are on duty at Khimki prison in Moscow oblast. Plans are reportedly being made to protest on January 23.
The Netherlands, through Minister Stef Blok (Foreign Affairs), called for the release of Navalny. Blok previously called his arrest “very disturbing”. Meanwhile, international criticism of the Russian authorities is growing.
Several countries criticized the arrest
Earlier on Monday, Heiko Maas, Germany’s Foreign Minister, and the British government expressed their concerns about Navalny’s arrest. The United States and several EU Member States, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, France and Italy, have since criticized the arrest.
The outrage from politicians in the Western world at the arrest of Nalvany is, according to Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, mainly intended to divert attention from real problems in the Western world. Lavrov said at his annual press conference, where he reviews his country’s diplomacy over the past year.
Navalny fell seriously ill in August after being poisoned with the nerve poison Novichok. He has stayed in Germany for the past few months. The outspoken opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin returned to Russia last weekend, where he was immediately arrested.