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Navalny Says Authorities Ask Court To Change Suspended Sentence To Jail Time


Russian police detain opposition leader Aleksei Navalny at a demonstration in June 2019.
Russian police detain opposition leader Aleksei Navalny at a demonstration in June 2019.

Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny, who last year survived a poison attack he says was ordered by President Vladimir Putin, has said that Russia's prison authority has asked a court to switch his suspended prison sentence to jail time.

"Putin is so enraged that I survived the poisoning that he ordered the FSIN (Federal Penitentiary Service) to demand that the court changes my suspended sentence into actual time in jail," Navalny tweeted on January 12.

"This despite the fact that my suspended sentence ended on December 30," he said in the message that also contained the screenshot of an official document of the FSIN's motion registered at a Moscow court.

According to the website of Moscow's Simonov District Court, the move to change Navalny's suspended sentence had been registered on January 11.

The official reason to change the sentence is shown in the document as "due to failure to carry out imposed obligations, evading payment of compensations, or committing another crime."

In December 2014, Navalny and his brother Oleg were found guilty by a Russian court of embezzling 30 million rubles -- then worth about $442,000 -- from the Russian branch of the Yves Rocher cosmetics company and another firm.

European Court Ruling

Navalny was handed a suspended sentence, while his brother was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.

Navalny's suspended sentence ended in June 2018 and his probation period ended on December 30, 2020.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in October 2017 that the Russian courts violated their right to a fair trial in the case.

That ECHR ruling initially held that their convictions in the Yves Rocher case fell outside the definition of fraud.

Navalny says the move to put him in prison by the Russian authorities is linked to the scandal of his poisoning.

He is currently in Germany after being flown there for emergency medical care after being poisoned in Russia in August 2020.

Laboratory tests conducted in Germany, France, and Sweden have established that Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent of the Novichok class, a conclusion confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the attack.

Last month, Navalny published a recording of a phone conversation, saying he duped a Russian agent into revealing how the country's Federal Security Service poisoned him with Novichok.

The agent, Konstantin Kudryavtsev, inadvertently made the admission during a 49-minute phone call with Navalny, who was posing as a high-ranking security official conducting a debriefing on the August attack in Siberia.

The revelation caused protests in Moscow, demanding explanations from the authorities, while the FSIN ordered Navalny at the time to return to Russia immediately or face jail time, accusing him of violating the terms of the suspended prison sentence.

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