MOSCOW (AP) – A Russian court on Thursday rejected an appeal for the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny while authorities detained many of his colleagues and sent social media companies more than tens of thousands of them to the streets last weekend Issued a warning to social media companies seeking release. .
Appearing in court by video link from the prison, Navalny condemned criminal proceedings against him as part of the government’s efforts to intimidate the opposition.
“You will not succeed in scaring the millions of people robbed by that government,” he said. “Yes, you now have the power to hold me in handcuffs, but it’s not going to last forever.”
44-year-old Navalny, the most famous critic of President Vladimir Putin’s government, was arrested on January 17 while returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the venom of the nerve-agent that he accuses the Kremlin. The Russian authorities have dismissed the allegations.
Navalny was arrested and jailed for 30 days at the request of Russia’s peninsular service, alleging that he violated the terms of probation by a 2014 money laundering sentence that was deemed politically motivated Was. He is currently facing charges in two separate criminal investigations.
Before the Moscow Region Court rejected his recent arrest appeal, defense lawyers argued that during rehabilitation in Germany, Navalny could not register with the authorities according to the probation conditions. His lawyers also alleged that Navalni’s due process rights were repeatedly violated during her arrest.
Navalny described his jailing after a court hearing before a hurried hearing at a police station as a derision of justice.
“It was demonstrative anarchy aimed at scaring me and everyone,” he told the Moscow court.
On Sunday, Navalni’s supporters are organizing another rallies. Police on Wednesday searched Navalni’s apartment, which is home to his wife Yulia, and the residence of several of his colleagues and supporters.
Navalny’s brother, Oleg Navalny, his top aide, Kongov Sobol, dau. Anastasia Vasileeva kept the Navalni-backed Alliance of Doctors and the Pucci Riot Punk Collective from Maria Alyokina in custody for 48 hours as part of a criminal investigation into alleged violations of the coronovirus. Rules during last Saturday’s protests.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that search and detention were a legitimate part of police efforts to investigate alleged violations during the incidents.
“Law enforcement agencies are doing their job,” Peskov said during a conference call with reporters. “There were many violations of Russian laws, and law enforcement agencies are at work.”
The Moscow police on Thursday issued a notice to the public not to attend the protests on Sunday, warning that officers would work solely to disperse inconsistent rallies and bring justice to the participants.
Also on Thursday, Russian prosecutors issued warnings to Facebook, Google, Twitter, TickTock and Russian social networks demanding that they block calls for other protests.
“The state does not want the social network to become a platform to promote such illegal actions,” Peskov said.
Asked whether Russian officials could block the platforms from refusing to remove such content, Peskov said it would be up to the government agencies concerned to consider the response.
“All the pros and cons will be weighed and, if necessary, the measures envisaged by the law will be taken,” he said.
Earlier this week, Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said it corrected Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tickcock, YouTube and two Russian social networks for their failure to block calls to minors to join Saturday’s protests Will do.
Facebook, Google and TikTok have not responded to requests for comment about the actions of Russian officials. Twitter declined to comment to The Associated Press on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, Russia’s investigative committee said it conducted a criminal investigation against Navalny’s top strategist Leonid Volkov, accusing minors of encouraging him to attend unauthorized rallies. Volkov, who currently lives abroad, dismissed the allegations.
“The roads should speak now. Nothing is left anymore, ”Volkov tweeted after Navalny’s appeal was rejected, repeating the call for Russians in force on Sunday.
In a challenge to Putin two days after Navalny’s arrest, his organization released a comprehensive video report on a seaside complex allegedly built for the president. It has been viewed more than 98 million times, further adding to the dissatisfaction.
Calling Navalni’s release last Saturday, there was a strong display of anger towards the Kremlin in more than 100 cities across the country. About 4,000 people were detained in those protests and some were given fines and jail sentences.
Speaking during Thursday’s court hearing, Navalny thanked his supporters and said, “They are the ultimate obstacle that is preventing our country from slipping into decline.”
Navalni fell into a coma on 20 August on a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow. Two days later he was transferred from a hospital in Siberia to a hospital in Berlin. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests conducted by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons established that he was exposed to the Novichok nerve agent of the Soviet era.
Russian authorities have refused to open a full criminal investigation, citing lack of evidence to poison Navalny.
The arrest of Navalny and the drastic police action over the protests led to widespread criticism from the West and calls for his release.
Associated Press business writer Calvin Chan in London contributed to this report.