Putin critic Navalny sentenced to jail after being arrested at a Moscow airport on his way home after being poisoned

alexei navalny
Alexei Navalny appears in a video published by his team on January 18, 2021. Navalny Live/YouTube
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  • Alexei Navalny, the chief critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was jailed on Monday following his return to Russia after an assassination attempt.

  • Navalny was arrested at a Moscow airport after landing from Berlin, with police officers accusing him of violating the terms of a 2014 suspended prison sentence for embezzlement.

  • Navalny was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent in August 20, and was flown to Berlin for specialist care soon after.

  • A hearing held at a police station on Monday saw Navalny remanded in custody until February 15.

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Alexei Navalny, the chief critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been jailed after returning to Moscow for the first time following an attempt on his life last summer.

Navalny was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent shortly before flying from Tomsk, Siberia, to Moscow on August 20. He was evacuated to Berlin to receive specialist care, where he had remained until Sunday.

Navalny has accused Putin of approving the attack. A consortium of journalists including CNN and Bellingcat found that the attempted assassination was carried out by officers in the FSB, Russia's spy agency.

Navalny landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Sunday and was immediately detained by police officers who accused him of violating terms of a 2014 suspended prison sentence for embezzlement.

On Monday afternoon, a hearing held at a Moscow police station saw Navalny remanded in custody until February 15, Navalny's lawyer Vadim Kobzev, told the state-run Interfax news agency.

Navalny called the hearing "the ultimate form of lawlessness," Interfax reported.

The hearing was held in a police station, not an official courtroom, because Navalny had not yet tested negative for COVID-19, according to Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs.

This video posted to social media showed the moment that crowds chanted for Navaly as he led away from the police station.

A second hearing will take place later on Monday to debate the freezing of Navalny's assets and property, tweeted Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation.

Russian police officers are seen outside a police station on January 18, 2021 in Khimki, outside Moscow, where opposition leader Alexei Navalny is held following his detention at a Moscow airport upon the arrival from Berlin. (Photo by Andrey BORODULIN / AFP) (Photo by ANDREY BORODULIN/AFP via Getty Images)
Officers seen outside the police station holding Alexei Navalny in Khimki, outside Moscow, on January 18, 2021. ANDREY BORODULIN/AFP via Getty Images)

On Monday Kira Yarmish, Navalny's spokeswoman, shared a YouTube video recorded by Navalny some time before his sentencing.

"What are these bunker-dwellers mostly afraid of? You know what they are afraid of, they are mainly afraid of people going out on the streets," he said.

Navalny went on to accuse the Russian state of trying to murder him.

"This band of thieves that has been robbing the country for 20 years told me, and so to everyone who refuses to keep quiet, that we were trying to murder you, but you didn't die, and as such you offended us," he said.

"That is why we will now put you in prison. And now a woman will come in black clothes who symbolizes a judge and will send me under arrest, at the same time understanding that it is absolutely and totally against the law."

Leonid Volkov, a close associate of Navalny, declared a mass protest in support of his cause would take place on January 23, The Moscow Times reported.

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