Russian opposition leader Alexeï Navalny was held by police soon after arriving at Moscow’s Cheremetievo Airport as he prepared to go through immigration, according to an AFP report confirmed by the Russian penitentiary services, FSIN.
The FSIN said in a statement that it had arrested Mr. Navalny, accused of violating the conditions of a suspended prison sentence he received in 2014. It said he was on a list of persons wanted since 29 December 2020 for multiple probation violations.
“He will remain in detention until the court decides” on his case, the FSIN said, without stating exactly when this could happen.
Mr. Navalny had spent the past five months convalescing in Germany after he was presumably poisoned. His lawyer, Olga Mikhaïlova, said on Sunday that no reason had been given for his arrest and that she was not allowed to approach him after crossing the border.
The FSIN had threatened on Thursday to arrest Mr. Navalny if he returned to Russia.
The penitentiary service has accused him of not reporting to it twice per month as required under the conditions of the five-year suspended prison sentence imposed on him in 2014. The fact that he was in rehabilitation was not a reason not to report to the service, it said.
Many close allies of Mr. Navalny were also arrested in Moscow on Sunday.
A charismatic anti-corruption campaigner and a sworn enemy of the Kremlin, Mr. Navalny feels he was the victim of poisoning in August by the Russian security services, FSB, on the order of President Vladimir Putin.