The Russian prison service on Monday gave Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny a last-minute ultimatum: fly back from Germany immediately and report to a Moscow office early Tuesday morning or be locked up if you return after that deadline.
Navalny, a leading critic of President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany for treatment in August after collapsing on a plane. Germany and other western nations said it was an attempt to murder him with a novichok nerve agent.
Russia has said it saw no evidence that he was poisoned and denied any involvement in the incident.
The Federal Prison Service (FSIN) accused Navalny on Monday of violating the provisions of a suspended sentence he is still serving on a conviction from 2014 and of evading the supervision of the Russian Criminal Inspection Agency.
Citing an article in the British medical publication The Lancet about his treatment, it said Navalny was discharged from Berlin hospital on September 20 and that all symptoms of his illness had disappeared by October 12.
“Therefore, the convicted person does not fulfill all the obligations imposed on him by the court and evades the supervision of the criminal inspection,” it said.
Navalny is serving a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence for a theft he says was politically motivated. His trial period ends on December 30th.
The prison service said in a statement late Monday that it had asked Navalny to report to the inspectorate and that his suspended sentence could be turned into a real prison sentence if his suspected suspended sentence violations were found to be true.
The prison service did not mention a deadline, but Navalny sent a screenshot of a message to his lawyer stating he had until 9:00 a.m. Tuesday to return and show up at a Moscow office.
His spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, said on Twitter that it was impossible for Navalny to return in time, that he was still recovering from being poisoned, and accused the prison service of acting on orders from the Kremlin.
“There is no way he could show up at the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department tomorrow. But does the FSIN really care about common sense? They received an order, they obey it,” she wrote.
The Kremlin has said that like any other Russian citizen, Navalny can return to Russia at any time.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)