Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been detained for 30 days after a farcical hearing inside the jail where he has been since his arrest upon arrival in Moscow on Sunday. Navalny, who was not allowed to meet his lawyers before the hearing, called the procedure unjust in a video published by his spokeswoman. “Why is the court hearing taking place at the police [station]?… I’ve seen a lot of mockery of justice, but it appears that the old man in the bunker [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is so afraid that he demonstrably ripped the penal code apart. This is lawlessness of the highest order, I can’t call it anything less,” Navalny said.
The 44-year-old returned to Moscow after surviving a near fatal poisoning that he believes was ordered by Putin last year. After a 15-minute deliberation, the judge sentenced Navalny to 30 days of detention. He will face another hearing later Monday and a full trial on Jan. 29. Journalists were not allowed in the courtroom due to COVID-19 concerns after the judge said Navalny had not been tested for the virus. Journalists waited outside the jail with supporters who waved blue boxer shorts in protest to the poisoning, which was believed to be carried out by putting a deadly nerve agent in Navalny’s underwear.
World leaders and humanitarian groups have called on Russia to release Navalny from custody. No investigation into Navalny’s poisoning has been opened in Russia.