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Russian Opposition Leader Jailed For 30 Days

A Moscow judge ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny jailed for 30 days in what he called a miscarriage of justice and “lawlessness.”

Alexei Navalny’s rushed court hearing occurred Monday in the police station where he has been held, according to The New York Times. Vadim Kobzev, Navalny’s lawyer, said he was notified of the trial just minutes before it was held in the station.

“What is happening here is impossible,” Navalny said in a video uploaded to one of his social media accounts, The Times reported. “This is the highest degree of lawlessness — I can’t call it anything else.”

The judge who presided over the hearing ruled that the opposition leader was to be jailed until Feb. 15 pending trial, according to Kobzev, The Times reported. He has been charged with violating the terms of a previous sentence.

Navalny was arrested at the Moscow airport upon his return from Germany on Sunday after the Russian government issued a warrant for his arrest, according to Politico. The warrant was related to a 2014 conviction on embezzlement charges.

“It’s impossible; I’m an innocent man,” Navalny reportedly said prior to his arrest Sunday, Politico reported.

Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin and co-founder of the Russia of the Future Party, fell extremely ill after he drank tea at an airport in Siberia on Aug. 20. He was promptly rushed to a hospital in Omsk, Russia, after his flight made an emergency landing.

Navalny was then flown to Berlin, Germany, where he was placed in a medically-induced coma and treated. Navalny came out of a coma on Sept. 7 and was released from the German hospital on Sept. 23.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said medical experts had determined that Navalny was poisoned with a Soviet-style poison in an attempt to murder him, Reuters reported. She called it “disturbing information.”

Research group Bellingcat released an extensive report Dec. 14 that concluded the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, was likely behind the poisoning. Using telephone metadata, Bellingcat uncovered an operation consisting of Russian agents following Navalny and communicating with chemical weapon development experts.

The U.S. and European Union have both condemned the apparent poisoning and demanded answers from Russia. However, Putin denied any wrongdoing on Thursday saying that the agents would have been successful if they were behind the attack.

“If they had really wanted to, they would have probably finished the job,” Putin said with a laugh, The New York Times reported.

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