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The Guardian view on Alexei Navalny: such bravery needs backing | Editorial


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The Russian opposition leader’s decision to return from Germany to Moscow was an act of remarkable courage

Alexei Navalny’s decision to return to Russia from Berlin, having survived a suspected assassination attempt by state security agents, was an act of extraordinary bravery. On arrival at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday night, the Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigner told reporters that he fully expected to be allowed to go home. But given what happened in the summer, he will have known that there was every risk that this would not happen.

In a hastily convened court hearing, held in a police station, a judge ruled on Monday that Mr Navalny would be kept in custody for 30 days. He is being held for allegedly breaching the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence, following a fraud conviction. The European court of human rights ruled that conviction to be politically motivated. It seems likely that the three-and-a-half-year sentence handed down may now be carried out.

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