Anti-Corruption Activist Navalny Arrested by Court Bailiffs, En Route to Court in Kirov

January 31, 2017
A photoshipped image of court bailiffs carrying away a cut-out of Alexey Navalny, after he reported the news that court bailiffs had arrived at his office to forcibly take him to the airport and on to Kirov, where a re-trial of his Kirovles case is in session.

LIVE UPDATES: Opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been arrested by court bailiffs and taken to the airport to be put on a flight to Kirov, where a re-trial of his Kirovles case already overturned by Russia’s Supreme Court is underway.

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Anti-Corruption Activist Navalny Arrested by Court Bailiffs, En Route to Court in Kirov

Russian court bailiffs seized opposition leader Alexey Navalny today in connection with the long-standing Kirovles case, widely believed to be fabricated in order to thwart Navalny’s anti-corruption activism.

Translation: Went out of the office like a boss. Bailiffs, cameras, photographs. Not clear only why all this. I would have gone to the airport on my own.

TV Rain reported that Navalny was taken without handcuffs. Interfax reported that the chief of the federal service of court bailiffs said that Navalny was seized in connection with the Kirovles case.

The court bailiffs are fulfilling the ruling of the Lenin District Court in the city of Kirov that Navalny and his former business partner Pyotr Ofitserov, who has been in the hospital, should be forcibly brought to court after they refused to attend the trial, which they said was unjust.

Ofitserov was picked up by bailiffs from the hospital, where he was admitted January 30 with acute pancreatitis, and is also being forcibly brought to court.

The case involving Kirovles (the name of a company that means “Kirov Lumber”) in the Russian provincial city of Kirov has dragged on for some time. Navalny and Ofitserov were sentenced in 2013 on charges of fraud for buying and selling lumber at a higher price than the purchase cost.  They were sentenced to five and four years of labor colony, respectively, and subsequently their sentences were suspended upon appeal. That meant the terms still hung over their heads and prevented them from travelling abroad.

After the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Navalny’s favor regarding Kirovles, and even the Russian Supreme Court overturned the verdict, the case was nevertheless sent back for further investigation, At first it seemed as if the hobbling of Navalny’s activity might nevertheless be lifted, as the Kremlin was interested in allowing him run for election to create the semblance of democracy in 2018, where President Vladimir Putin is expected to prevail.

But after the government revived the trial of the case in December, Navalny declared that he would refuse to go to court in protest against the injustice.

Navalny is currently tweeting from the bailiffs’ office with his usual humor. He is waiting a flight from Moscow to the city of Kirov.

Translation: They brought me to the department of bailiffs. I will wait for the flight here. It’s really cool here: there’s bowling, billiards and even a bar. To be sure, alcohol opens only at 17:00.
He has continued to tweet out information on his anti-corruption projects and a recent video exposing disinformation from state-owned NTV.
Translation: NTV: debunker and a few lawsuits.
Translation: Photo: Alexey Navalny waiting for the flight to Kirov in the office of the department of course bailiffs.

Translation: Went to the Burger King accompanied by three bailiffs and film crews from NTV and Rossiya-1 — done. (I think it looked comical).

Others following his arrest are treating it with humor as well: 

Translation: Bailiffs came to the Anti-Corruption Fund and confiscated the suspicious Navalny.

Meduza has reported that Navalny plans to sue NTV for covering his vacation with a hidden camera. 

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick