Alexei Navalny is shown standing inside of a clear glass cage in a courtroom with three people on the outside looking in on him.

In this handout photo provided by Moscow City Court Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, center, stands in a glass cage during a hearing in the Moscow City Court, Feb. 2, 2021.


Moscow City Court via AP

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Alexei Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, demanded his release on Tuesday as he faced a court hearing in Moscow in a case that could send him to prison for up to 3 ½ years. Navalny’s detention has sparked nationwide protests for weeks against the Kremlin and led to thousands of arrests.

Navalny was arrested last month upon returning to Russia from Germany where he was hospitalized in a coma after being  poisoned with nerve agent Novichok. The 44-year-old opposition leader blames the Kremlin for his poisoning while Russian authorities deny the claim, despite lab test results that confirm the use of Novichok.

Russian authorities alleged that Navalny violated the probation conditions of a 2014 suspended sentence of 3 1/2 years for money laundering, which Navalny and his lawyers reject as politically motivated.The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russian authorities violated Navalny’s rights by holding him under house arrest in 2014 while the embezzlement case was taking place.

“I came back to Moscow after I completed the course of treatment,” Navalny said during Tuesday's hearing. “What else could I have done?”

Police detained over 5,400 people on Sunday during rallies, including more than 1,900 in Moscow, the biggest number the nation has seen since Soviet times. While most protesters have been released with court summons, several people are facing serious charges over alleged police violence.

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US President Joe Biden condemned the military’s takeover of Myanmar and the detention of elected leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as “a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law,”  and threatened to reimpose sanctions on the South Asian country. While members of parliament have since been allowed to leave their accommodations in the capital, Suu Kyi, who led the country's elected government, has not been seen since she was detained by the military.

And, Biden is expected to continue an effort on immigration reforms by taking on one of the former Trump administration’s most controversial policies on Tuesday — the separation of families at the US-Mexico border. Biden will sign three new executive orders on immigration and border security and establish a task force designed to reunite families that still remain apart, led by Homeland Security Department secretary nominee, Alejandro Mayorkas.

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In case you missed it

Listen: A second weekend of widespread protests across Russia

A large crowd of people are shown lined up in opposition to a group of people armed in riot great.

People clash with police during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 31, 2021.


Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

For a second weekend in a row, demonstrators across Russia came out to the streets to call for the release of opposition politician Alexei Navalny from jail. And, Myanmar’s military has seized power in a coup. The takeover happened before dawn on Monday with politicians taken from their homes and detained. Also, while concerns are growing over the limited supplies of approved COVID-19 vaccines, behind the scenes, the vaccine powerhouse Serum Institute of India is massively scaling up and is expected to play a pivotal role in supplying the world.

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