Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was handed a 30-day sentence after facing a judge inside a police station on the outskirts of Moscow. Navalny accused Russian officials of “ultimate lawlessness” and urged resistance.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was rushed to a makeshift courtroom on Monday, just a day after his arrest at a Moscow airport. The court session was set up at the police station in Khimki, on the outskirts of the Russian capital.
Navalny’s aide accused authorities of denying him access to his lawyers, saying he was notified at the last minute of the makeshift hearing.
The judge handed Navalny a sentence of 30 days in prison.
“I’ve seen a lot of mockery of justice… but they have ripped up and thrown away” Russia’s criminal code, Navalny said in a video of the proceedings that was released by his team.
“This is impossible. It’s ultimate lawlessness,” the 44-year-old added.
Navalny called on Russians to join him in protesting the government, in a video posted on YouTube from the police station.
“Do not be silent. Resist. Take to the streets,” he said. “Don’t go out for me, go out for yourself and your future,” the anti-corruption activist added.
Some 200 hundred Navalny supporters gathered outside the police station to demand his release, Reuters reported.
Merkel: Navalny’s case ‘weighs’ on relations
Navalny was arrested on Sunday, as he was returning home from a months-long stay in Berlin. He was flown to Germany for treatment at the city’s Charite Hospital, suffering from what the German government determined to be poisoning with a Novichok nerve agent.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday decried Navalny’s “arbitrary” arrest.
“The chancellor condemns the arbitrary arrest of Mr Navalny… which violates the principles of the rule of law,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters, saying Germany called on Russia “to release Mr Navalny immediately.”
Seibert said Russia had arrested the “victim” of “attempted murder with chemical weapons” and “not the perpetrator.”
Merkel had “repeatedly” noted that Russia’s treatment of Navalny “weighed on” relations between Berlin and Moscow, Seibert added.
Charged with fraud
Russian authorities have said Navalny was detained for violating the terms of a suspended sentence he was given in 2014 on fraud charges. Critics view the proceedings as a pretense designed to prevent him from running for office in future elections. Monday’s hearing’s nominal goal was to decide whether he had violated the terms of that suspended sentence.