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Offbeat Russia: opponent Alexeï Navalny risks a long prison sentence

21:30  01 february  2021
21:30  01 february  2021 Source:   leparisien.fr

Russia: calls to demonstrate for Navalny despite the police threat

 Russia: calls to demonstrate for Navalny despite the police threat © Provided by Le Point L The supporters of the opponent Alexeï Navalny called for demonstrations on Saturday throughout Russia to demand his release, despite the risk of violent police repression and multiple pressures from the authorities. From Moscow to Vladivostok, the team of the notorious anti-corruption activist, victim of suspected poisoning this summer, issued calls for a rally in 65 Russian cities.

Alexeï Navalny est visé par de multiples procédures qui pourraient l’amener à devoir purger une longue peine de prison en Russie. © AFP / Alexander NEMENOV Alexeï Navalny is targeted by multiple procedures which could lead him to serve a long prison sentence in Russia.

Despite calls for the release of Alexei Navalny, the Russian authorities seem determined to see him serve a long prison sentence. The Russian prosecution said it was in favor of the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny on Monday, on the eve of a hearing in which the opponent risks two to three years of detention and the day after the repression of demonstrations in his favor. This crackdown has led to Western condemnations, with Paris calling on Berlin to abandon a major gas pipeline project with Russia as a sanction.

Russia: Western countries condemn the repression of pro-Navalny protests

 Russia: Western countries condemn the repression of pro-Navalny protests © AFP - KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV A demonstrator takes part in the mobilization demanding the release of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny in Moscow, January 23, 2021. EU , the United States and Canada condemned the repression of the demonstrations of this Saturday, January 23 in Russia, organized at the appeal of the opponent Alexeï Navalny to demand his release, resulting in more than 2,500 arrests, as well as clashes in several large cities.

In a statement, the prosecution deemed "legal and justified" the request of the Russian prison services (FSIN) to revoke the stay of the main critic of the Kremlin for violation of his judicial control in a case dating back to 2014.

According to the NGO OVD-Info, which specializes in monitoring demonstrations, 5,611 demonstrators in support of the opponent were arrested across the country, a record, according to this source, in recent Russian history. These gatherings have been organized for two consecutive weekends. Among them, more than 1,800 were arrested in Moscow where protesters and police played cat and mouse all day across the city, most of the center of which had been cordoned off, including the metro. More than 1,300 arrests have also been recorded in the country's second largest city, Saint Petersburg.

Relatives of the opponent Navalny detained after searches

 Relatives of the opponent Navalny detained after searches © NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA A Russian policeman in the lobby of the building housing the offices of the Anti-Corruption Fund, the organization of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny, January 27, 202 Several relatives of the imprisoned Russian opponent Alexei Navalny were taken into custody on Thursday, before a court examining an appeal against his own arrest and a few days before new protests planned throughout the country.

"Accelerated repression"

"We are faced with an acceleration of political repressions", affirms Leonid Drabkine, coordinator of OVD-Info. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov judged the police response to be justified and denounced the participation "of a fairly large number of thugs and more or less aggressive provocateurs" towards the police.


Video: Russia: detention confirmed for Navalny who denounces a justice "under orders" (Euronews)

Sworn enemy of power, Alexeï Navalny was imprisoned on his return to Russia on January 17, after a convalescence of several months in Germany for a poisoning of which he accuses President Vladimir Poutine. Reason for the arrest: the violation, according to the authorities, of the conditions of a suspended prison sentence of three and a half years pronounced in 2014 and which could be transformed into a firm sentence.

Russia: opponent Alexeï Navalny risks a long prison sentence

 Russia: opponent Alexeï Navalny risks a long prison sentence © AFP / Alexander NEMENOV Alexeï Navalny is targeted by multiple procedures which could lead him to serve a long prison sentence in Russia. Despite calls for the release of Alexei Navalny, the Russian authorities seem determined to see him serve a long prison sentence.

Alexeï Navalny is due to appear on Tuesday and risks nearly two and a half years of detention, the opponent having already carried out, under house arrest, part of the sentence. His supporters are called to rally in front of the court.

Controversial pipeline

The 44-year-old opponent is the target of multiple legal proceedings. Friday, he is due to appear for "defamation" against a veteran. He is also implicated in an investigation for fraud, a crime punishable by ten years in prison. At the same time, several of his allies and collaborators have been placed under house arrest, imprisoned or prosecuted in recent weeks. Some risk jail for violating anti-coronavirus "health standards" by staging protests.

In the capital, the authorities had cordoned off the city center, forcing thousands of protesters to gather further north of Moscow in an attempt to reach the prison where Alexeï Navalny is being held. The police responded by arresting them with all their might and using ruthless force.

Western condemnations have been unanimous. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken regretted “brutal tactics” and EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell “deplored the massive arrests”. The latter wishes to meet Alexeï Navalny during his planned visit to Moscow from February 4 to 6, announced Monday the spokesman of the diplomat.

The French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, gave him to understand that new EU sanctions against Moscow could be on the table, believing that Germany should abandon the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project connecting it to Russia. Despite this call from Paris, the German government spokeswoman defended the realization of this controversial project on Monday, indicating that Berlin had not changed "its basic position" on the subject.

Canada and allies discuss joint response to Russia's imprisonment of Kremlin critic Navalny .
Canada joined an international conference call this morning to discuss the plight of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.The 44-year-old anti-corruption investigator — one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics — was arrested in mid-January after returning from Germany, where he'd spent five months recovering from nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have denied the accusation.

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