With Alexey Navalny due to return to Russia on Sunday, his lawyer has revealed that the opposition figure was placed on the federal wanted list last year and could therefore be arrested as soon as he lands in the country.
Navalny is wanted for breaking the terms of his probation. In 2014, he was found guilty of embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two companies, including the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher. He received a three-and-a-half-year sentence suspended for five years, which was later extended for another year. It was due to expire on December 30, 2020.
On December 28, two days before the end of his probation, the Russian protest leader was summoned by the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), which claimed he had deliberately evaded their supervision. As part of his sentence, he is required to regularly visit a probation office.
Navalny has been in Germany since August 2020, where he went to receive treatment for an alleged poisoning with the deadly nerve agent Novichok. However, a report published by German doctors show that he has now recovered, and therefore technically should have been able to go to a probation office. Because of his no-show, the prison service has asked to turn his suspended term into a real one.
If Navalny returns to Russia, he could be detained and sent to jail to serve his sentence.
His addition to the federal wanted list was initially made public by Telegram-channel Mash and was later confirmed by Navalny’s lawyer Vadim Kobzev. According to the document, on November 27, the FSIN decided that he was evading their supervision and began preliminary search activities. On December 29, he was put on the wanted list.
On Wednesday, Navalny revealed that he would return to Moscow on Sunday, almost five months after landing in Berlin, when he was in a coma. According to German doctors, he was poisoned with the nerve agent ‘Novichok.’ Navalny accuses the Kremlin of being behind the attack, an allegation which had been flatly denied. A month after his arrival he was discharged and has been in Germany ever since.
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