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‘I’m not afraid’: Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny detained on arrival at Moscow airport – World News , Firstpost

‘I’m not afraid… as a result of I do know that I’m in the best, I do know that the felony instances towards me are fabricated,’ Navalny stated, standing in entrance of an image of the Kremlin within the terminal

File picture of Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny. AFP

Moscow: Police detained prime Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Sunday when he flew again to Russia months after barely surviving a poisoning assault, prompting a brand new wave of Western condemnation.

Navalny was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport lower than an hour after he flew in from Germany, the place he had been recovering from the poisoning with a nerve agent he says was ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

The United States, the European Union, a number of EU governments, Canada and a senior aide to US President-elect Joe Biden instantly referred to as for his launch, with some within the EU urging new sanctions towards Moscow.

Rights teams joined the calls, with Amnesty International saying Navalny had turn into a prisoner of conscience and accusing Russian authorities of waging “a relentless campaign” to silence him.

European Council president Charles Michel wrote on Twitter that Navalny’s detention was “unacceptable”, whereas the French overseas ministry stated the arrest precipitated “very strong concern”.

“Mr Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable,” Biden’s nationwide safety advisor Jake Sullivan tweeted.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added that America “strongly condemns” the arrest, noting with “grave concern” that Navalny’s detention was the newest try and silence voices vital of Russia’s authorities.

Russian overseas ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova hit again in a Facebook submit, telling overseas leaders to “respect international law” and “deal with the problems in your own country”.

Navalny, 44, was met by uniformed police at passport management after his Berlin flight touched down in Moscow, in keeping with AFP journalists on the scene.

He embraced his spouse Yulia who was travelling with him and was led away, with aides later saying he was being held at police station close to the airport.

“Alexei was detained without the reason being explained,” Navalny’s lawyer Olga Mikhailova advised AFP on the airport, saying she had been refused the best to accompany him.

“Everything that is happening now is against the law.”

‘I’m not afraid’

Russia’s FSIN jail service stated in an announcement that it had detained Navalny for “multiple violations” of a 2014 suspended sentence for fraud, including that “he will be held in custody” till a court docket ruling.

The FSIN stated it had beforehand warned Navalny he could be arrested for failing to fulfill probation situations whereas in Germany, together with that he examine in with the service twice a month.

Speaking to journalists at Sheremetyevo earlier than his detention, Navalny stated he didn’t worry being arrested.

“I am not afraid… because I know that I’m in the right, I know that the criminal cases against me are fabricated,” Navalny stated, standing in entrance of an image of the Kremlin within the terminal.

His aircraft landed at Sheremetyevo after a dramatic last-minute diversion from one other Moscow airport, Vnukovo, the place a number of hundred of his supporters and media have been ready.

Several of his associates have been taken into custody on the airport whereas the aircraft was within the air, together with outstanding Moscow activist Lyubov Sobol and different prime aides.

OVD Info, which displays detentions at political protests in Russia, stated at the least 55 folks had been detained on the airport, which had banned mass occasions due to coronavirus restrictions.

Sobol and others later stated they have been launched and have been dealing with administrative fees.

Dozens of police in riot gear with black helmets and batons had deployed on the airport.

“I had to come to support him, to show him that he is not alone,” Saint Petersburg artist Tanya Shchukina advised AFP.

Navalny fell violently sick on a flight over Siberia in August and was flown to Berlin in an induced coma. Western consultants concluded he was poisoned with Soviet-designed nerve toxin Novichok.

The Kremlin denies any involvement and Russian investigators stated there have been no grounds to launch a probe.

Navalny could now face felony fees beneath a probe launched late final yr by Russian investigators who say he misappropriated over $four million value of donations.

Anti-corruption investigations

Navalny has been the image of Russia’s protest motion for a decade, after rising to prominence as an anti-corruption blogger and main anti-government road rallies.

He publishes YouTube investigations into the wealth of Russia’s political elites. Some of the movies garner tens of millions of views, making the activist’s crew a goal of lawsuits, police raids and jail stints.

The Kremlin opponent has by no means held elected workplace.

He got here second in a 2013 vote for mayor of Moscow however was barred from standing towards Putin within the 2018 presidential elections.

His allies are additionally incessantly prevented from operating for election.

His crew has been gearing as much as problem the ruling United Russia get together in elections to the decrease home State Duma due in September.


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