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Navalny Learns His New Fate: 30 Days in Custody

Dissident was arrested immediately upon his return
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 18, 2021 9:50 AM CST

(Newser) – A Russian judge on Monday ordered Alexei Navalny to be remanded in custody for 30 days, per the AP. The ruling concluded an hourslong court hearing set up at a police precinct where the politician was held since his arrest at a Moscow airport Sunday. Navalny flew to Russia from Germany, where he'd spent five months recovering from nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. He was detained at passport control at the Sheremetyevo airport after flying in Sunday evening from Berlin, where he was treated following the poisoning in August. Navalny's arrest prompted a wave of criticism from US and European officials, adding to existing tension between Russia and the West. He was being held at a police precinct outside Moscow, and the hearing into whether Navalny should remain in custody was hastily set up at the precinct itself.

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"It is impossible what is happening over here," Navalny said in video from the improvised courtroom, posted on his page in the messaging app Telegram. "It is lawlessness of the highest degree." President-elect Joe Biden's pick for national security adviser called on Russian authorities to free Navalny. "Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable," Jake Sullivan tweeted. The outgoing secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the US "strongly condemns" the arrest. Navalny's detention was widely expected because Russia's prisons service said he'd violated probation terms from a suspended sentence on a 2014 money-laundering conviction. The service said it would seek to have Navalny serve his 3.5-year sentence behind bars.

(Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)

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