18 Feb 2022 15:12

Oleg Navalny presumably left Russia for Cyprus; no information about his return - court

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) - Oleg Navalny, brother of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, presumably left Russia for Cyprus in September 2021, and the Federal Penitentiary Service does not have information about his return, an Interfax correspondent reported from a hearing held at Moscow's Lyublinsky District Court, which is processing a motion for replacing Oleg Navalny's suspended sentence with real jail time.

"Navalny booked a ticket from Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport to Cyprus for September 4, 2021. There is no information about his return to Russian territory," a judge said on Friday, as he was reading out materials from the Federal Penitentiary Service.

A probation and parole officer told the court they had put Navalny on the wanted list as he went into hiding.

A prosecutor backed the demand for replacing the suspended sentence with real jail time.

"The arguments presented by the Federal Penitentiary Service are grounded. The materials presented show that Navalny has fled, so I fully support the motion," the prosecutor told the court.

For his part, Navalny's lawyer Nikos Paraskevov told the court that this client does not recognize the sentence as lawful and believes that the Federal Penitentiary Service has no reason to file the motion.

The lawyer allowed for a possibility of Navalny's departure from Russia but said he knew nothing for sure.

"I can neither confirm nor deny that. I allow that he might be outside of Russia but I do not know that for a fact," Paraskevov told Interfax.

Back on August 6, 2021, Moscow's Preobrazhensky District Court passed a one-year suspended sentence with a yearlong probation on Oleg Navalny on a count of incitement to breach sanitary and epidemiological regulations.

Navalny was compelled not to change his place of permanent or temporary residence without notifying the probation and parole authority and to check in with his probation officer.

The criminal case was based on the unsanctioned demonstration in support for Alexei Navalny that took place in Moscow on January 23.

The Russian Interior Ministry put Oleg Navalny on the wanted list on January 26. The lawyer said, citing the ministry report, that Oleg Navalny "did not register and was put on the wanted list after a probation officer came and, apparently, did not find him at home."