Lawyers of jailed Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny say their client's pretrial detention is illegal as several procedural regulations were violated while processing the case.
Navalny's website on January 22 made public an appeal filed by lawyers Olga Mikhailova and Vadim Kobzev a day earlier with the Moscow City Court against the 44-year-old opposition politician’s arrest.
According to the lawyers, the decision was made by a team of illegally composed judges, there was no deliberations room in the makeshift court, and the defendant’s right to have lawyers present during proceedings and his right to privately discuss the case with them was ignored. They also said the judicial process was not held in accordance with the law.
The lawyers also said that, as Navalny's case pertains to probation and suspended sentence, he cannot be placed in a detention center, and should be released immediately.
"Aleksei Navalny was imprisoned under a legal article that simply does not apply to him (or to any other conditionally convicted person). This is understood by any lawyer, any judge and, in general, anyone who opens and leafs through the Criminal Procedure Code," the lawyers said in a post on Navalny's website.
"But the Khimki city court simply did not give a damn about any of this, and put its stamp on a piece of paper, according to which Navalny was sent to Matrosskaya Tishina for a month," they added.
At a January 18 hearing that Navalny called a "mockery of justice," a judge ruled to keep him incarcerated until February 15, by which time a different court is expected to decide on whether to convert a suspended 3 1/2 year sentence that he served into real jail time in an embezzlement case, which he says was trumped up.
The case arose after Navalny was airlifted to Germany for emergency medical treatment because he had been poisoned while traveling in Siberia.
Navalny has blamed the Kremlin for the attempt on his life with what independent laboratories in the West have determined was a military-grade chemical nerve agent.
The Kremlin has denied any involvement.
Navalny’s detention has sparked global outrage and a chorus of international calls pressuring President Vladimir Putin to immediately release Navalny.
His team has called for nationwide protests on January 23, prompting police in Moscow and other parts of Russia to detain several of his associates.
The Interior Ministry has issued a stark warning about repercussions for those who will take part in the unsanctioned rallies.