Or face-to-face judicial inspection or jail sentence. The Russian Federal Prison Service (SPF) gave the opposition Alexei Navalni just a few hours to report to its Moscow offices for a review of the sentence that Russia imposed on him in 2014 that handed down a suspended sentence of more than three years in prison, in a controversial case considered “arbitrary” by the European Court of Human Rights. The dissident, who is still recovering in Germany from the poisoning this summer in Siberia that almost cost him his life, could not fulfill the ultimatum and did not attend the appointment on Tuesday. The authorities will now determine if they carry out their threat and impose a prison sentence on the opponent, something that could keep him out of Russia, where he has stressed that he wants to return as soon as he fully recovers.
The Russian authorities sent a note to Navalni’s lawyer, one of the critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin, better known in the West, in which it was stressed that he can now go to the review in the Russian capital because he has already recovered. The SPF cites a report published in the prestigious scientific journal The Lancet in which the doctors who treated him in Germany describe that he was poisoned with a neurotoxin for military use from the Novichok family and what his treatment was.
Navalni has ironized that, when referring to the medical report, the Russian Administration recognizes in a certain way his poisoning, for which he blames the Russian leader directly. “The SPF, based on the article by The Lancet, demands that they imprison me. But excuse me, the article is about me being poisoned by Novichok. That means that at the official level the State recognizes the poisoning. Where is the criminal case? ”, The opponent wrote on social networks.
The European Union has imposed sanctions on several top officials in Putin’s circle for the Navalni poisoning, noting that the attack could not be carried out without the knowledge of the Kremlin, but Russia has not opened an official investigation to determine what happened to the opponent.
The threat from the prison service comes just days after a journalistic investigation identified the suspected Russian intelligence agents who carried out the poisoning in August in the Siberian city of Tomsk. The Kremlin has denied any relationship and ensures that what happened with the opponent is a case manufactured by the United States.
This, however, is not the first time that the SPF has tried to transform Navani’s conditional sentence into a real one. The opponent was sentenced in 2014 to three and a half years in prison for embezzlement of funds from the Yves Rocher company, which resulted in parole. The opponent appealed the sentence and went to the European Court of Human Rights, which ordered Russia to compensate Navalni with almost 20,000 euros and considered that the penalty for fraud against the opponent and also against his brother Oleg was “arbitrary and manifestly unfair.”
This and other convictions and legal proceedings, which the opposition has defined as a political persecution, prevented Navalni from participating in the elections. The opponent was disbarred and was unable to run for the presidential elections in March 2018, which Putin won by an overwhelming majority.