Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Faces Threat of Imprisonment
(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s prison service asked a court to substitute a suspended sentence for opposition leader Alexey Navalny for a term of imprisonment, which would threaten him with arrest if he returns home from Germany.
Navalny, who survived a nerve-agent attack that he and Western governments have blamed on the Kremlin, accused President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating the move. He said on Twitter Tuesday that the Russian leader was “so angry that I survived the poisoning” that he ordered the penal authority to demand his jailing.
The request submitted by the Federal Penitentiary Service to Moscow’s Simonovsky court, in a filing posted on Monday, concerns a 3 1/2 year suspended sentence for fraud that Navalny received in 2014. The prison authority in late December warned the opposition politician he faced imprisonment if he didn’t obey a summons to appear in person. Restrictions imposed over the suspended jail term expired on Dec. 30.
Read more: Navalny Blames Putin for Poisoning, Kremlin Calls Him CIA Asset
The opposition leader is currently convalescing in Berlin, where he was flown for treatment after the near-fatal poisoning in August during a campaign trip to Siberia. The European Union in October sanctioned six Russian officials over the use of the banned Novichok chemical weapon. Russia has denied any involvement.
Investigators last month stepped up pressure on Navalny, opening a new criminal case against him for alleged fraud.
“What else are they going to think up so Navalny doesn’t return to Russia?” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter.
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