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Russian prison authorities seek to revoke Navalny’s probation and incarcerate him

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has filed an appeal in court seeking to revoke opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s probation sentence in the so-called Yves Rocher case and incarcerate him.

Navalny reported this development on Twitter, including a screenshot with information about the case.

“Putin is so enraged that I survived after his poisoning that he ordered the FSIN to go to court and demand that my suspended sentence be changed to a real one. ‘In connection with committing a new crime.’ This despite the fact that my probation ended on December 30.”

The FSIN filed the petition with Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court and it was registered on Monday, January 11.

The petition seeks to revoke Navalny’s probation sentence “in connection with failure to fulfill assigned duties, evading compensation of damages, or committing a new crime.”

“It seems to me that they really are hysterical here. What else could they think up to keep Navalny from returning to Russia?” Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh commented on Twitter. 

On December 28, the Moscow branch of Russia’s FSIN threatened to petition the courts to revoke Navalny’s sentence in the Yves Rocher case unless he appeared for a parole hearing the next morning. The prison authorities maintained that Navalny — who has been in Germany since August, when he was evacuated to Berlin for treatment after he was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent — had failed to fulfill the duties assigned to him by the court and was evading the oversight of corrective services.

The FSIN explained that measures could be taken against Navalny in accordance with article 190 of the Russian Penal Code, which specifies that the prison authorities can petition the courts to revoke a suspended sentence and replace it with a real prison term if, during their probation, a convicted person “systematically fails to fulfill the duties assigned to them by the court or evades oversight.” Navalny’s probation period from the Yves Rocher case ended on December 30, 2020. 

On December 29, the Russian Investigative Committee announced felony fraud charges against Navalny for allegedly embezzling hundreds of millions of rubles in donations to his non-profit (the Anti-Corruption Foundation) and other organizations, and using the stolen funds to buy personal property and valuables, and pay his own expenses.