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Police detain brother of jailed Kremlin critic and search properties, say Navalny allies

Police detain brother of jailed Kremlin critic and search properties, say Navalny allies
January 28, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Police in Moscow detained Oleg Navalny, the brother of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, and searched the homes of the opposition politician’s associates and other properties linked to him, his allies said.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday to demand that the Kremlin release Alexei Navalny from jail, where he is serving a 30-day stint for alleged parole violations, which he denies.

Police had said the protests were illegal and OVD-Info, a monitoring group, said officers had detained close to 4,000 people. Navalny’s allies plan to hold new rallies this Sunday.

Ivan Zhdanov, director of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, tweeted that Oleg Navalny had been in his brother’s apartment as it was being searched.

Oleg Navalny was released from prison in 2018 after serving three-and-a-half years for an embezzlement conviction that critics say was designed to put pressure on his brother Alexei and smother dissent. Alexei Navalny was given a suspended sentence in the same case.

Zhdanov said police appeared to be conducting the searches as part of an investigation into calls to hold protests, which breached social distancing restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They started breaking down the door,” he tweeted.

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