Jan. 28 (UPI) — A Moscow court on Thursday ordered that prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny remain in jail for at least another couple weeks, to face charges of violating terms of his probation.
Navalny, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin with a strong following among young Russians, has been in custody since Jan.17 after he returned from Germany — where he’d spent months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning critics blame on the Kremlin.
The probation stems from a 2014 fraud case for which Navalny was given a suspended sentence. The probation period was set to expire last month and Navalny was required to meet with probation officers. Since he was hospitalized in Berlin, he did not appear for the meeting.
As a result, the Russian government threatened to revoke Navalny’s suspended sentence and placed him on a fugitive list for violating his probation. He was arrested when he returned to Russia last week.
Thursday, the Russian court ordered that he be held until at least Feb. 15 for a scheduled hearing.
“Having heard opinions of the sides, the court has decided to dismiss the complaint of Alexei Navalny,” the court stated.
Russian authorities raided Navalny’s home and offices on Wednesday and activists have called for his release. Police arrested thousands of protesters last weekend, according to Amnesty International.
Navalny’s attorneys said they will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that there’s no legal justification for Navalny’s continued detention.