Russia’s Federal Prison Service (FSIN) on Monday threatened to jail opposition leader Alexei Navalny for violating the terms of his suspended prison sentence if he doesn’t show up for a hearing in Moscow on Tuesday morning, his lawyers and Russian officials said. 

Since he was poisoned in August with a nerve agent from the Novichok group, the Kremlin critic has been in Germany, where he also received treatment in Berlin Charite Hospital. While Navalny has blamed on the Kremlin, Russia has denied allegations, citing that the Kremlin critic is “enjoying the support of the US special services” and that if Russia’s special services had wanted to kill him, they would have “finished” the job.

In Monday’s ultimatum FSIN said that an article by doctors from Berlin’s Charite hospital, published in British medical journal The Lancet, shows that Navalny has fully recovered, as “all of the symptoms of his illness have passed” and “therefore the conditionally convicted person is not fulfilling all of the obligations placed on him by the court, and is evading the supervision of the Criminal Inspectorate.”

Reacting to the ultimatum, Navalny said that FSIN’s move to cite the article in the medical journal is a proof that Russia was involved in the poisoning. Similarly, his spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, tweeted on Monday that “The FSIN, knowing fully well that Navalny is undergoing treatment in Germany, is trying to jump into the last train (Alexei’s probation period ends on December 30) and demands [from Navalny] to report to the inspection tomorrow. Otherwise, it will demand to replace the conditional term with a real one.”

Although in its statement the Russian law enforcement agency did not mention a deadline, Navalny’s screenshot of a message to his lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, shows he had until 9 am on Tuesday to return and report to an office in Moscow.

“There’s no way he could appear at the Moscow Criminal Inspectorate tomorrow. But does the FSIN really care about common sense? They were given an order, they are fulfilling it,” Yarmysh said in another tweet.

Navalny is serving out a suspended three-and-a-half-year prison term over the so-called “Yves Rocher” theft case, which he sees as politically-motivated.

Last week, Russian authorities opened a criminal investigation into Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer of the anti-Corruption Foundation and a close ally of Navalny on a trespassing charge, Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement issued on Friday. The move against Sobol is the latest in a crackdown on the Kremlin’s opponents before the next parliamentary elections scheduled for September 2021. 


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