Sun, 29 May 2022

Aleksei Navalny says he has no regrets and has called on his supporters not to be 'afraid,' a year to the day the opposition politician was detained after returning to Russia from Germany where he was recovering from a near-fatal poisoning.

'I sided with those honest people who do not want to be, or cannot be, scared any more. I did it, I don't regret it for a second, and I will continue doing it,' Navalny, who is serving time in an old embezzlement case that is widely considered as being politically motivated, said in a post on Instagram on January 17.

'Having served my first year in prison, I want to tell everyone exactly what I shouted to those gathered outside the court when a convoy led me to a police van: Don't be afraid of anything,' the vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin said.

'This is our country and we have no other,' Navalny wrote, also posting a photo of himself wearing an inmate's uniform, with his arm around his wife, Yulia.

Amnesty International marked the first anniversary of Navalny's arrest by urging the international community and people across the world to join their voices to call for his release, and put an end to their 'unprecedented campaign of repression and reprisals' against his supporters.

Navalny, 45, was detained in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on January 17, 2021 upon his arrival from Berlin, where he had been recovering after being poisoned in Siberia in August 2020.

A Moscow court ruled two weeks later that, while in Germany, he had violated the terms of parole imposed from a widely criticized 2014 embezzlement case.

Navalny's 3 1/2-year suspended sentence from the case was converted to a jail term, though the court said he will serve 2 1/2 years in prison given time he had been held in detention.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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