Russian court rejects Kremlin critic Navalny's early release appeal

01 Août, 2019, 02:26 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Russian court rejects Kremlin critic Navalny's early release appeal

Navalny was sentenced after calling for an unauthorized protest on July 27 during which almost 1,400 demonstrators were detained in a crackdown by police that has been internationally condemned as violent and "disproportionate".

The opposition has called for another demonstration in Moscow this Saturday.

Elena Sibikina, one of the doctors who treated Navalny, told reporters that the idea that he had been poisoned with a chemical substance had "not been proven". "But two days later German doctors concluded that I was poisoned", he tweeted Wednesday.

While health officials insisted his condition was satisfactory, Anastasia Vasilyeva, the 43-year-old's physician, said: "We can not rule out that toxic damage to the skin and mucous membranes by an unknown chemical substance was inflicted with the help of a "third party".

Navalny's lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, said on July 29 that she was asking in the appeal for the court to terminate the case "due to the lack of evidence or to terminate his administrative arrest due to his poor health condition".

"He has not fully recovered". A representative of the hospital told AFP on Monday Navalny was "in a satisfactory condition".

But with the Kremlin tightly controlling the media, he remains a fringe figure for many Russians, who are exposed to the official portrayal of him as a Western stooge and convicted criminal.

Vasilyeva expressed concern that the chemical agent that caused the outbreak could still be in his prison cell. She said he has been given anti-inflammatory steroids and that the swelling subsided.

After 17 days of consuming only water and vitamins, Sobol, who at one point needed two people to help her walk across a room, said she meant to continue her hunger strike even though she felt "pretty bad". His face is visibly swollen in the picture he attached to the blog post, with red circles around the eyes. She said she also wanted CCTV footage of his cell to be examined. Some Kremlin political opponents have been poisoned or killed in recent years, although Russian officials denied any involvement.

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"Are they really such idiots to poison you in a place where suspicions point only at them?" Navalny wrote in a post on his website. "There's only one thing I can say with certainty: Power in Russian Federation is in the hands of the guys who really are stupid".

He has been attacked several times.

Navalny suffered a chemical burn to his right eye in 2017 as a result of an assault.

Among Navalny's most eye-catching exposes have been details on the palatial homes of Putin's allies in Russian Federation and overseas including one kitted out with a vast climate-controlled storage room for fur coats in the residence of Vladimir Yakunin, former chief of Russia's national railways.

Police beat up protesters with batons and indiscriminately arrested people including the elderly and passers-by.

Putin, who was out of town to lead a naval parade in St. Petersburg on Sunday, has not commented on the massive protests.

Lyubov Sobol, 31, is one of 16 opposition-minded candidates the authorities have barred from running in September's election for Moscow's city legislature, a vote seen as a dry run for a national parliamentary election in 2021. After authorities claimed that some of the 5,500 signatures each candidate collected were forgeries, the candidates went to the local election commission to protest, some bringing the same people whose signatures were ruled invalid.

Some Navalny allies remain in custody and others were sentenced on Monday to jail terms of up to 30 days. Another, Dmitry Gudkov, is due to appear in court on Tuesday.

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