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Russia’s Attorney General’s Office says lack of information from Germany is hindering probe on Navalny’s ‘hospitalization’

Russia’s Attorney General’s Office has reported receiving a “response from the relevant authorities” in Germany to four requests for legal assistance sent in connection with opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s “hospitalization” in Berlin. Navalny was medevaced to Germany for treatment in August after he was poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent in Russia.

According to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office, the response contained “requests for additional clarification and information regarding the investigation of the circumstances of A. A. Navalny’s hospitalization,” but did not include a “substantive explanation” for any of the questions from Russian prosecutors.

The statement said that based on the response received, “to date the requests of the [Russian Federation's] Attorney General’s Office remain unfulfilled,” emphasizing that this, in turn, is hindering the work of Russian investigators:

“The lack of information from the German side does not allow the law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation to draw a final conclusion on the circumstances of A. A. Navalny’s hospitalization, since as a result of expert studies conducted on Russian territory, no poisonous substances were found,” the statement said. 

The Russian Attorney General’s Office has sent an additional request to the German authorities, describing the inquiry conducted in Russia and requesting information “about the substance that was allegedly found in Germany and its chemical composition.”

Lawyers from Navalny’s non-profit, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) submitted two requests to police officials in Russia demanding the launch of a criminal case over the attack on Navalny. Police investigators issued orders rejecting these requests on September 18 and October 16, leading to an initial halt in the ongoing pre-investigation check into Navalny’s hospitalization. On both occasions the Interior Ministry’s leadership cancelled the orders that same day, thereby prolonging the inquiry. According to the BBC Russian Service, this is a common practice used in Russia to circumvent the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Code.

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