Brussels (Brussels Morning) The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has given opposition politician Alexei Navalny an ultimatum – return to Russia immediately or face jail, Reuters reported yesterday.
The ultimatum, which was issued on Monday, orders Navalny to report to the FSIN Moscow office today, Tuesday.
In August, Navalny was taken to Germany for treatment after he fell ill on a flight in Russia. Germany and other Western countries have accused Moscow of attempting to murder Navalny with a Novichok nerve agent.
Moscow denies involvement in the incident and stresses it has yet to see evidence that Navalny was poisoned.
Yesterday, the FSIN accused Navalny of violating the terms of his suspended prison sentence, which it maintains still applies from his conviction in 2014. According to FSIN, Navalny is evading Russia’s criminal inspection authority.
Citing an article in the British medical journal, The Lancet, the FSIN pointed out that Navanly had been released from the Charité hospital in Berlin on 20 September and that all his symptoms were gone by 12 October. “Therefore the convicted man is not fulfilling all of the obligations placed on him by the court, and is evading the supervision of the Criminal Inspectorate,” FSIN warned.
In the circumstances, the suspended sentence could be changed to prison time should Navanly’s suspected violations of terms prove to be true, FSIN warned.
Navalny says he was convicted in a politically motivated case and received a suspended sentence, adding that the probation period ends tomorrow, Wednesday. While the FSIN did not mention a precise deadline, Navalny, in a message he shared with his attorney, says he had until 9 a.m. today, Tuesday, to report to FSIN in Moscow.
Yesterday, Monday, Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh stressed it is impossible for him to return to Russia on time. She noted that he is still recuperating from the poisoning. She accused the FSIN of carrying out orders from the Kremlin.