Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, who is being treated in Germany, has demanded that the Russian authorities send him the clothes he was wearing during an alleged attempt to poison him last month.
Russia has denied the claims of German authorities that Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok-like nerve agent, calling them politicized. Moscow points out that it was Russian doctors who saved Navalny’s life after he felt sick on a flight to Moscow on August 20.
Physicians in the Siberian city of Omsk, where the plane made an emergency landing, said they found no traces of chemicals in samples taken from Navalny.
However, in his first blog post after emerging from a coma, the anti-corruption activist insisted that the clothes that he was wearing on August 20, when the alleged attempt on his life took place, were “an extremely important evidence” in his case.
“Before they allowed me to be transferred to Germany, they took all the clothes off me and sent me there absolutely naked,” he claimed. Navalny’s clothes were reportedly seized as part of pre-investigation checks, carried out by police and the General Prosecutor’s Office.
The Russian police said those checks didn’t establish any grounds to launch a criminal investigation into what had happened to the opposition figure. Navalny argued in the post that the checks were only used to conceal the clothes from the public, suggesting they could’ve had traces of Novichok on it.
“I demand that my things are carefully packed in plastic bags and returned to me,” he wrote.
However, some social media users have cast doubt on Navalny’s claim that his clothes were still in Russia. They pointed to photos of the activist taken in Tomsk ahead of his flight, and those taken at the German Charite clinic, show him apparently wearing the same shoes. Others also recalled a tweet from Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, posted after the alleged poisoning, that said the politician’s wife Yulia prevented Navalny’s belongings from getting seized and was holding on to them.
It remains unclear which particular clothes are missing from Navalny’s wardrobe.
Some 200 people have been questioned in connection with Navalny’s alleged poisoning, Siberian police said on Monday. Notably, Yarmysh and other members of the oppositioner’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) have said they are refusing to be further interrogated, citing the maximum period of 30 days during which a pretrial investigation can be legally carried out. FBK want a criminal case into an attempt on Navalny’s life to be opened, but it has so far failed to materialize.
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