The Russian opposition leader Navalny has called the trial against him “a new level of lawlessness”. Furthermore, he wants journalists to be present at the hearings, can be seen in a video from the court that his spokesman posted on Twitter.
“ I have often seen how the rule of law is ridiculed, but the grandfather in his bunker is now so afraid (…) that the Criminal Procedure Code is simply torn apart and thrown into the dump,” said Navalny, referring to Russian President Putin.
Russian prison service wants Navalny to disappear behind bars for 3.5 years, alleged that he violated the terms of a suspended imprisonment imposed on him in 2014.
Yesterday, on his return to Russia, more than five months after his poisoning, which he barely survived, he was immediately arrested at the airport in Moscow. From abroad, Russia has been strongly criticized for the arrest.
Navalny was transferred to a police station in Moscow after his arrest, says an ally of Navalny. Today, the case against him immediately started.
Russia, in a reaction, calls attention to the Navalny case from the West “artificial”. According to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, countries use the case to distract citizens from domestic problems.
‘Very serious issue’
Among others, the United States, Italy and Germany have criticized Russia after Navalny‘s arrest. “We note with great concern that his detention is the last in a series of attempts to silence Navalny and other opposition members and independent opinion makers who criticise the Russian authorities,” said US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo.
Italy demands that Navalny be released immediately. “The arrest of Navalny on his arrival in Russia is a very serious issue, which worries us. We ask for immediate release. And we expect his rights to be respected”, tweeted Minister Luigi Di Maio of Foreign Affairs.
German foreign minister Heiko Maas also wants the opposition leader to be released immediately. In a statement Maas said that Russia must comply with its own constitution and international obligations guaranteeing the protection of human rights. “Of course, these principles also apply to Navalny. He must be released immediately.”
Minister Bloc of Foreign Affairs expresses himself in similar terms. He adds that those responsible for Navalny’s poisoning should be brought to justice.
British Vaccination Minister Zahawi says he fears for Navalny‘s health. “Foreign Affairs is going to respond to the arrest,” Zahawi said to Sky News. “But we are worried about his health and safety. And we want the Russian government to explain why poison was used against Navalny.”
His fellow foreign minister, Dominic Raab, also demands Navalny’s release and says that instead of prosecuting Navalny, Russia should be more concerned about the fact that a chemical attack has taken place on its territory.
European President Charles Michel and foreign chief Josep Borrell have also criticized the arrest, along with the EU Member States Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The last three want Europe to take action against Moscow.
The director of Amnesty International in Russia Natalia Zviagina calls the arrest “even more evidence” that Russia is trying to silence him. “His detention merely indicates the need to investigate his claims that he was poisoned by (Russian) agents acting on orders from the highest circles.”
Check out the images of the arrest here:
Navalny was hospitalized in a hospital in Omsk in August, after becoming unwell on a flight from Siberian Tomsk to Moscow.
Two days later, he was transferred to a hospital in Berlin, where doctors found that he had been poisoned with the nerve gas novitsjok. At the end of September he was discharged from the hospital. Several European leaders condemned Russia for poisoning. Russia denies any form of involvement.