28 Jan 2021 20:41

Russian penitentiary service asks court to replace Navalny's suspended sentence with real jail time

MOSCOW. Jan 28 (Interfax) - The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has asked the court to replace opposition activist Alexei Navalny's suspended sentence with real jail time for systematically violating his terms of supervision before and after the period of his medical treatment in 2020, Yelena Korobkova, head of FSIN's specialized directorate, said in an interview with Interfax.

"There has been a lot of speculation lately that the convict Navalny was unable to show up at the inspectorate as he was in a coma. However, he systematically violated the terms of his probationary period even before his hospitalization, in particular, he failed to show up for registration with the penal inspectorate on the fixed dates at least six times from January to August 2020," Korobkova said.

While Navalny was receiving medical treatment, "inspectorate officials treated this with understanding, and he was not summoned to the inspectorate at that time," she said.

"However, even after he was discharged from the clinic, he still hasn't shown up for registration since October 2020," Korobkova said.

Only a month later Navalny forwarded a letter to FSIN's office for Moscow to notify it that he was staying in Berlin, where, according to him, he was recovering, she said.

"He did not present any official documents on this, and the fact of undergoing rehabilitation procedures cannot serve as grounds for not showing up for registration," Korobkova said.

The court mandated that Navalny show up for registration twice a month on certain dates set by the penal inspectorate, Korobkova said. "Courts impose such obligations on the overwhelming majority of those given suspended sentences," she said.

"Based on the facts of these offences, he has been officially warned that his suspended conviction could be replaced with real jail time," Korobkova said.

"Russian Criminal Code Article 74, Part 2 stipulates that, if a person given a suspended sentence evades compliance with the obligations imposed on them by the court or violates the public order, a court may extend their probationary period at the inspectorate's request, but by no more than one year," she said.

The latter measure was applied in 2020 to more than 77,000 people previously given suspended sentences, and this same measure was applied to Navalny himself in 2017 for the offences he committed, Korobkova said.

"In line with Penal Code Article 190, Part 4, if a person given a suspended sentence systematically fails to comply with the obligations imposed on them by the court or has fled control during the probationary period, the chief of the penal inspectorate must lodge a request with the court on reversing the suspended sentence and ordering the enforcement of the actual punishment given to them by court," she said.

"Failure by a person given a suspended sentence to comply with such obligations is qualified as systematic if they commit such actions more than twice within a year or fail to comply with the obligations imposed on them by court continually over a long period of time, longer than 30 days," Korobkova said.

"As FSIN was unaware of the convict's actual place of residence after he was discharged from the Berlin clinic in October 2020, primary search procedures were launched with respect to Navalny on November 27, 2020, and he was declared wanted on December 29, 2020," she said.

As a result, FSIN's penal inspectorate for Moscow lodged a request with a court on December 29, 2020 on reversing his suspended sentence and enforcing the actual punishment given to him by a court, Korobkova said.

"Thus, everything directly depends on the conduct of the person whom the court gave a chance in handing down its sentence to correct their behavior without being isolated from society," she said.