Russian Court Takes Minutes To Reject Navalny Lawsuit Over Failure To Probe His Poisoning

By RFE/RL's Russian Service

MOSCOW -- A military court in Moscow has upheld a lower court's decision to reject a lawsuit filed by jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny against the Main Military Investigative Directorate (GVSU) over its refusal to launch a probe into his poisoning in Siberia with a chemical nerve agent in August.

The Second Western District Military Court took only a few minutes to make the ruling on May 18. Neither Navalny nor his lawyers were present at the hearing.

In the original case, the 235th Garrison Military Court ruled that "the GVSU's decision" not to launch a probe into Navalny's poisoning was "legal and well-grounded," and that Navalny's lawsuit was "not worth of considering."

Judge Andrei Tolkachenko said during that hearing that Siberian Transport Police refused to launch an investigation due to the "absence of a criminal act."

The complaint stems from August 2020, when Navalny fell violently ill on a plane while traveling in Siberia. The aircraft made an emergency landing and President Vladimir Putin's most vocal critic was rushed to a hospital, where doctors worked to keep him alive.

As Navalny lay gravely ill in intensive care, officials said they had not found any evidence of poisoning.

After several days, he was flown from Siberia to Germany, where he was diagnosed as having ingested what was confirmed by several European labs as a Novichok-type chemical nerve agent.

Navalny's lawyers filed a lawsuit against several officers of the Federal Security Service who were implicated by the Bellingcat investigative group in the operation to poison him.

However, the GVSU refused to launch a probe into the attack and Navalny's lawyers filed another lawsuit, this time against the investigative directorate's inactivity in the case.

The anti-corruption campaigner has accused Putin of ordering the poison attack, but the Kremlin has denied any involvement.

After receiving treatment in Germany, Navalny returned on January 17 to Moscow, where he was immediately arrested.

On February 2, a court in Moscow ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an older embezzlement case that is widely considered politically motivated.

His suspended 3 1/2-year sentence was converted into jail time, though the court reduced that amount to just over 2 1/2 years for time already served in detention.

Navalny's detention set off a wave of national protests and a crackdown against his supporters.

The European Union and the United States have imposed a series of sanctions against Russia over the Navalny poisoning and subsequent detention.