RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Autor)
A lawyer and Belarusian citizen who works for jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) says he was handcuffed and forced into a car with a sack over his head before being taken on a 10-hour drive to the border by plainclothes police and handed over to Belarusian authorities.
Uladzlen Los said in a video statement posted on YouTube on January 25 that Russian police told him he was barred from entering Russia for five years.
Los added that the Belarusian police did not arrest him and allowed him to leave the country for a "safe" place in an undisclosed location.
On January 21, Moscow police detained Los and handed him a note, saying that he had to leave Russia before January 25.
A day later, on the eve of mass demonstrations across Russia demanding Navalny's release, Los was sentenced to three days in jail on a charge of disobeying a police order.
Several of Navalny's associates were detained the same day and sentenced to several days in jail or fined as the authorities looked to curb the scale of the expected demonstrations.
However, tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets across the country on January 23 in the largest protests in years as they called for the release of Navalny.
The Kremlin critic was arrested on January 17 as he returned from Germany, where he was recovering from a poisoning attack with a military-grade nerve agent.
Navalny has said the poisoning was an assassination attempt by the state to silence him. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the incident.
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