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26 Jan, 2022 15:06

Russian opposition figure Navalny’s brother wanted by cops

The move comes shortly after the notorious Kremlin critic was added to Russia’s ‘terrorist and extremist’ list
Russian opposition figure Navalny’s brother wanted by cops

The brother of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny has been placed on a wanted list, facing criminal charges, by Russian authorities shortly after the country’s Federal Penitentiary Service asked a Moscow court to replace his suspended sentence with a jail term.

On Wednesday, Oleg Navalny’s photo and personal details appeared on the Russian Interior Ministry’s database. According to the request, he is wanted “under an article of the Criminal Code.” However, no details of which specific crimes he stands accused of have been made available.

His lawyer, Nikos Paraskevov, told RIA Novosti that the arrest warrant was related to his absence from his place of residence and failure to turn up for inspection for over a month.

On Tuesday, the Federal Penitentiary Service appealed to judges in the Russian capital to change the younger Navalny brother’s suspended sentence into jail time. A hearing will be held on February 18.

According to them, Oleg “does not properly comply with court-imposed restrictions” in the so-called “sanitary case.”

A probe was launched by investigators last January against the opposition figure’s brother and eight other people, who are accused of inciting breaches of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions linked to a pro-Navalny rally in Moscow on January 23.

The younger Navalny was handed a one-year suspended sentence in August after being found guilty of the charges. He insists that the sentence is politically motivated.

The decision to place the 38-year-old on a wanted list comes just one day after Navalny and a number of his most notable associates were added to an official government list of “terrorists and extremists.”

Among the eight others deemed “terrorists and extremists” were some individuals who had worked at the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), an organization founded by the opposition figure in 2011 to investigate and expose corruption among high-ranking Russian officials. The FBK was designated as a “foreign agent” by the Ministry of Justice in 2019, and in June 2021, it was labeled an extremist organization and liquidated.

Navalny is currently behind bars serving a two-year and eight-month jail term for violating the conditions of a suspended sentence handed down to him in 2014 for fraud. He was found guilty of embezzling $400,000 from two companies. The opposition figure was arrested in January 2021, when he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had been brought after falling ill on a flight traveling from Siberia to Moscow.

He and his German doctors allege that he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok, in what he claims was a state-sponsored assassination attempt. However, Moscow insists that its requests for samples as evidence have been ignored.