PUTIN critic Alexei Navalny has accused the Kremlin of the "highest level of lawlessness" at the first hearing since his arrest.
Navalny, a prominent opposition figure within Russia, was detained yesterday as he exited a plane to return to the country just five months after his attempted assassination.
Navalny fell ill while on an internal flight in Russia in August, and after being transferred to Germany was found to have been exposed to Novichok, a chemical nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
He accuses the Russian government of trying to have him killed, although the Kremlin has denied any involvement.
A hearing was held on Monday afternoon in a makeshift court at a police station in Khimki, near Moscow.
In footage posted to his Twitter account by a spokesperson, Navalny is seen telling the court: "I don't understand what's going on.
"A minute ago, I was brought from cell here to meet my lawyers.
"I came here and here is the Khimki court session taking place. Some strangers are filming me on camera.
"Why the court session is taking place in police station I cannot understand. Why was no one was informed?
"I have seen a lot of jokes about judicial system here. It's not possible what is happening here. It's the highest level of lawlessness. I cannot call it any other word."
Pictures also showed Navalny's lawyers, who say they have not been granted access to him, speaking to an officer through a gate outside the station.
Prior to yesterday, Russian authorities had said they would be "obliged" to detain Navalny if he returned for the violation of parole terms attached to a suspended sentence.
The sentence came from a 2014 conviction for embezzlement that Navalny says was politically motivated.
Navalny had been due to touch down and meet supporters at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, but before the plane's arrival authorities closed the airport and diverted the flight to Sheremetyevo.
Officers were then waiting to arrest him as he disembarked the flight.
The move has sparked condemnation from the international community as well as human rights campaign groups.
Writing on Twitter, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "It is appalling that Alexey Navalny, the victim of a despicable crime, has been detained by Russian authorities. He must be immediately released.
"Rather than persecuting Mr Navalny, Russia should explain how a chemical weapon came to be used on Russian soil."
Jake Sullivan, who is to serve as a national security advisor in the Biden administration, said the "attacks on Mr Navalny are not just a violation of human rights, but an affront to the Russian people who want their voices heard".
The government of Germany, France, and Italy as well as the president of the European Commission also called for Navalny's release.
Amnesty International declared Navalny a prisoner of conscience and called for his "immediate and unconditional" release.
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