Alexey Navalny faces extra jail time, with a court docket in Moscow set to listen to a request from the nation’s jail service to jail the opposition chief for as much as three-and-a-half years for alleged parole violations.

The listening to on Tuesday comes after tens of 1000’s crammed the streets throughout the nation on Sunday, chanting slogans towards President Vladimir Putin and demanding freedom for Navalny, who was detained final month on his return from Germany, the place he was handled for an alleged nerve agent assault.

Greater than 5,400 protesters had been detained by authorities, in response to human rights group OVD Data.

Whereas state-run media dismissed the second weekend of mass protests as small and claimed that they confirmed the failure of the opposition, Navalny’s group stated the turnout demonstrated “overwhelming nationwide assist” for the Kremlin’s fiercest critic.

His allies referred to as for protesters to assemble exterior the Moscow court docket on Tuesday.

“With out your assist, we gained’t have the option to withstand the lawlessness of the authorities,” the politician’s group stated in a social media submit.

The 44-year-old was arrested on January 17 on coming back from Berlin, the place he spent 5 months recovering from an alleged nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities reject the accusation. He now faces a jail time period for alleged probation violations from a 2014 money-laundering conviction that’s broadly seen as politically motivated.

Final month, Russia’s jail service filed a movement to exchange his three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence from the conviction with one he should serve. The Prosecutor Basic’s workplace backed the movement on Monday, alleging Navalny engaged in “illegal conduct” in the course of the probation interval.

Lately, Navalny has served a lot of transient jail stints however by no means a protracted jail time period.

A spokeswoman for the court docket instructed AFP information company that Navalny was anticipated to look in individual.

‘Path in the direction of nice bother’

Kremlin critics say a concerted effort is below solution to silence Navalny’s group, dismantle his Anti-Corruption Basis and stress his household.

On Monday, a court docket fined Navalny’s spouse Yulia 20,000 rubles ($265) for taking part in an “unauthorised” rally in her husband’s assist. His spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, was additionally positioned below home arrest till March on suspicion of breaching COVID-19 laws at unsanctioned rallies on January 23.

Yulia Navalnaya, spouse of Alexey Navalny, leaves after a court docket listening to in Moscow, Russia February 1, 2021 [Evgenia Novozhenina/ Reuters]

A number of others, together with Navalny’s brother Oleg and distinguished activist Lyubov Sobol, are already below home arrest.

OVD Data stated the wave of arrests on Sunday included 82 journalists and was the best quantity within the 9 years it has been preserving information in the course of the Putin period. A minimum of 51 protesters had been overwhelmed by law enforcement officials whereas being detained, it stated.

In the meantime, Pavel Chikov, a lawyer and rights advocate, stated police have opened 40 felony circumstances in 18 totally different areas associated to the 2 weekends of protests.

In Saint Petersburg, the ombudsman stated authorities unleashed “basically a army operation” towards protesters and paralysed the town.

“Batons and tasers won’t clear up current issues. Violence solely breeds intransigence and engenders bitterness,” ombudsman Alexander Shishlov stated in an announcement.

“It is a path in the direction of nice bother. It’s time to cease.”

Legislation enforcement officers detain a protester throughout a rally in assist of Navalny in Moscow, Russia January 31, 2021 [Maxim Shemetov/ Reuters]

The jailing of Navalny and the crackdown on protests have prompted worldwide outrage and set off renewed discuss of Western sanctions on Russia.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that Washington “condemns the persistent use of harsh ways towards peaceable protesters and journalists by Russian authorities for a second week straight”. He additionally urged the discharge of Navalny and people detained “for exercising their human rights.”

Moscow rejected Blinken’s name as “crude interference in Russia’s inner affairs” and accused Washington of making an attempt to destabilise the state of affairs by backing what it referred to as unlawful protests.

“We’re speaking about illegal rallies,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov instructed reporters on Monday. “Naturally, police take measures towards individuals of those illegal rallies – therefore the variety of detained.”

The German authorities has additionally referred to as for the instant launch of the arrested protesters, in addition to Navalny. It “condemns using pressure by Russian safety forces and the as soon as once more disproportionate motion towards peacefully demonstrating residents,” authorities spokeswoman Martina Fietz stated.

France in the meantime has urged Germany to scrap the Nordstream II gasoline pipeline venture with Russia in protest towards Navalny’s detention.