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Russia’s Attorney General’s Office published a statement saying there’s no basis for a criminal case on Navalny’s poisoning — and then deleted it

Russia’s Attorney General’s Office doesn’t see any grounds for launching a criminal case over the poisoning of opposition politician Alexey Navalny. This was reported in a press release shared on the department’s website, which was removed within a few minutes of publication. Why the press release was deleted remains unclear. 

In the statement, the Attorney General’s Office underscored that to date, there is no data “evidencing a deliberate criminal act committed against Navalny.” However, the department did announce a preliminary inquiry, noting that this is standard procedure in response to serious incidents involving airpassengers. 

The Attorney General’s Office also said that it had appealed to the judicial authorities in Germany with a request for legal assistance — asking in particular that the German side provide documentation on medical reports from the doctors treating Navalny in Berlin. The department stressed that Germany has already expressed its willingness to cooperate on this issue.

Opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny was hospitalized in Omsk on August 20 after becoming violent ill aboard a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. He has been in a coma ever since. Navalny’s family and aides believe he was poisoned. Doctors in Berlin, where he was transferred after nearly two days of treatment in Omsk, suspect that Navalny was poisoned with a cholinesterase inhibitor. European leaders have called on the Russian authorities to investigate Navalny’s mysterious illness. The Kremlin has said it’s premature to make this a police matter.

In addition to the Attorney General’s Office, Transit Police in Russia’s Siberian Federal District have also launched an inquiry into Navalny’s hospitalization.