Russia Gives Alexei Navalny an Ultimatum

He will face jail if he isn't in Moscow early Tuesday
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2020 4:41 PM CST
Russia to Navalny: Return Now or Face Jail
In this image taken from a video released on Dec. 21, 2020 by Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny on his Instagram account, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny tells how he spoke with as Konstantin Kudryavtsev, a trained chemical-weapons specialist.   (Navalny Instagram account via AP)

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is recovering in Germany after being poisoned with a nerve agent in Russia—but Russian authorities say he will face jail if he doesn't report to an office Moscow early Tuesday morning. The country's prison service gave Navalny the ultimatum Monday, saying he is required to report to its office under the terms of a suspended sentence he received for a 2014 conviction, reports Reuters. The Federal Penitentiary Service cited an article in the Lancet medical journal stating that Navalny has fully recuperated from the poisoning. "Therefore the convicted man is not fulfilling all of the obligations placed on him by the court," the prison service said.

Navalny's probation period expires on Wednesday, but the prison service said the suspended sentence could be changed to a prison sentence if he misses the Tuesday deadline. Navalny, who blames government agents for the poisoning, has said he plans to return to Russia once he fully recovers—but it won't be on Tuesday. He noted Monday that the government's citing of the Lancet article suggests it accepts that he was poisoned with Novichok. "That means that the state has officially recognized the poisoning," he tweeted, per the AP. "And where is the criminal case then?" (Last week, Navalny said he had tricked a government agent into confirming how he had been poisoned.)

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