Alexey Navalny: Kremlin critic ridicules claims he failed to contact authorities while in a coma

Navalny was detained two weeks in the past upon his return to Moscow from Berlin, accused of failing to satisfy his parole phrases below a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement — a case he has dismissed as politically motivated. Jail authorities at the moment are in search of to interchange his suspended sentence with a 3.5-year jail sentence.

Navalny, a perennial thorn in President Vladimir Putin’s side, had spent 5 months in Germany recovering from Novichok poisoning earlier than his return to Moscow on January 17. He has blamed the assault on Russian safety providers and Putin himself, accusations that the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

In court docket, Navalny demanded to understand how he may have higher knowledgeable authorities of his whereabouts whereas comatose.

“Are you able to clarify to me how else I used to be supposed to satisfy the phrases of my probation and notify the place I’m?” he mentioned from his glass enclouse within the countroom.

A jail service consultant responded by saying ought to have offered paperwork to clarify the intense causes that prevented him from exhibiting up for inspections.

“Coma?” Navalny shot again. “Why are you sitting right here and telling the court docket you did not know the place I used to be? I fell right into a coma, then I used to be within the ICU, then in rehabilitation. I contacted my lawyer to ship you a discover. You had the handle, my contact particulars. What else may I’ve performed to tell you?” he mentioned.

“The President of our nation mentioned dwell on air he let me go to get therapy in Germany and also you did not know that too?”

Tuesday’s listening to opened below a heavy safety presence, with riot police securing the court docket constructing and cordoning off the overall space with police autos, vehicles and vans. Close by streets had been open however closed to pedestrians and protesters with barricades.

CNN reporters witnessed police detaining dozens of individuals exterior the court docket earlier than the listening to had begun.

Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, arrives at the court on Tuesday.

Russian authorities had repeatedly threatened to jail Navalny if he returned from Germany to Russia. Navalny’s legal professionals beforehand advised CNN they’d little hope for his launch, and criticized the Kremlin’s management of the nation’s courts.

Of their protection, they argued the jail service was nicely conscious of Navalyny’s whereabouts because it acquired a discover from him in early December. His legal professionals additionally offered a letter from Berlin’s Charite Clinic exhibiting that he was in rehabilitation up till his return to Russia.

The listening to takes place towards the backdrop of widespread anti-government protests. Tens of 1000’s of Russians haven taken to the streets throughout the nation for 2 straight weekends to assist Navalny and demand his launch. A court docket choice to jail Navalny will probably solely inflame protesters.

Kremlin meets Russian protesters with fiercest crackdown in years

On Sunday, protesters had been met with the harshest present of power by Russian safety providers in years. Greater than 5,000 folks had been detained in no less than 85 cities, in keeping with the impartial monitoring group OVD-Data, a document since 2011 protests. Navalny led mass protests in 2017-18 towards Putin’s authorities.

Most of Navalny’s key allies and a few relations have been detained or put below home arrest in latest weeks, feeding fears of rising political repression. His spouse, Yulia Navalnaya, has been arrested twice since she returned to Moscow along with her husband. She was launched Sunday quickly after being detained.

“Yulia, they present you on TV and maintain speaking about your radical habits. Such a foul woman, I am pleased with you,” Navalny mentioned shortly earlier than his listening to started.

Navalny’s allies have already referred to as for one more spherical of nationwide demonstrations subsequent weekend.

CNN’s Angela Dewan and Anna Chernova contributed to this report.

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