The Norwegian government joined many others in Europe and around the world in criticizing the Russian government’s arrest of returning opposition leader Alexei Navalny over the weekend. Navalny, widely believed to have been poisoned in August by Russia’s Federal Security Service, was taken into custody immediately after he bravely returned to Russia after months of treatment and recovery in Germany.
“We hold Russian authorities responsible for making sure his (Navalny’s) fundamental rights are upheld,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide stated on social media. “Russia must make the circumstances around the poisoning of Navalny known.”
Five laboratories certified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the use of the nerve agent Novichok against Navalny after he’d become violently ill on a flight from tomsk to Moscow last summer. It’s also been used against others critical of the Kremlin and especially Russian President Vladimir Putin, while Navalny himself holds Putin responsible for his ordeal.
He chose to re-enter the proverbial lion’s den to carry on his opposition to Putin’s government. He was arrested right after landing Sunday, on questionable charges that may prevent him from carrying on opposition activities that threaten Putin’s regime. The EU, the US and France were quick to condemn his arrest and demand his release.