Navalny: Police detain brother, search dwelling forward of recent protests | Politics Information

Russian authorities increased pressure on imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny on Wednesday as police raided his home and offices and those of his allies and detained his brother for his release that weekend ahead of new protests.

The 44-year-old, who nearly died after being poisoned last year, was jailed for parole violation when he returned home from life-saving treatment in Germany last week.

Authorities said Wednesday’s raids are part of a criminal investigation into violations of coronavirus restrictions during protests last weekend when tens of thousands took to the streets to demand the release of Navalny.

Police said the protests were illegal and OVD-Info, a surveillance group, said nearly 4,000 protesters had been arrested. More rallies are expected on Saturday.

Ivan Zhdanov, the head of the FBK Anti-Corruption Foundation of Navalny, said police raided homes linked to Navalny as well as the organization’s offices for alleged violations of coronavirus restrictions. The Russian Interior Ministry said earlier on Wednesday that it had opened a criminal investigation into violations of COVID-19 rules during the protests.

Navalny, whose basis is known for his investigations into alleged corruption in Russia’s political elite, has emerged as the most prominent opponent of President Vladimir Putin.

The Navalny Foundation seeks to expose corruption among Russia’s political elite. His latest video claims that President Vladimir Putin was given this mansion on the Black Sea. an indictment that Putin has dismissed [Alexey Navalny YouTube Channel via AFP]In his most recent report – a nearly two-hour video posted on YouTube – Putin was given a $ 1.5 billion palace on the Black Sea coast as a gift. an allegation rejected by the President. The film, which was released after Navalny was imprisoned, has been viewed around 97 million times.

Zhdanov tweeted that Oleg Navalny, who was released from prison in 2018 after serving three and a half years on an embezzlement that critics said was intended to put pressure on the opposition and root out dissent, had been to his brother’s apartment during the search .

Zhdanov said police apparently carried out the raids as part of an investigation into calls for more protests in violation of social distancing restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They started breaking down the door,” he tweeted.

International condemnation

In Washington DC, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated United States concerns about the treatment of Navalny and the human rights situation in Russia.

“It remains to be seen how concerned and perhaps even scared the Russian government seems to be of a man, Mr. Navalny,” said Blinken. “His voice is the voice of many, many, many Russians, and it should be heard, not silenced.”

Blinken’s remarks come a day after the group of seven industrial democracies jointly called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of Navalny.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the statement on Wednesday “gross interference” in the country’s internal affairs and an “openly unfriendly move”.

The lawyer Veronika Polyakova speaks to the media in front of a Moscow apartment of the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, which was searched by the police [Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

Zhdanov later said the police had arrested Ilya Pakhomov, an aide of Navalny, in front of the opposition politician’s apartment.

Zhdanov also released a video recorded in another apartment showing Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s wife, how the police are supposed to wait for their lawyer to arrive while they knock loudly on the door.

Navalnaya’s lawyer Veronika Polyakova was allowed into the apartment by police after standing in front of the door for several hours.

“It used to be against the code of honor to touch the family,” tweeted Polyakova. “Now there is no code or honor.”

Police also searched the home of Lyubov Sobol, a Navalny ally who was arrested during last week’s protests, Navalny’s allies said.

Police took Sobol as a witness for questioning, but she was later ordered to remain in police custody for 48 hours, including for allegedly violating hygiene rules, Navalny’s team said.

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