Russia puts jailed Kremlin critic Navalny's brother on wanted list

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (L) and his brother Oleg take selfie pictures during a rally in memory of politician Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated in 2015, in Moscow, Russia February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov//File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has put the brother of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on a wanted list, according to interior ministry records, as he faces a summons for a court hearing that could convert a suspended sentence against him into a prison term.

Oleg Navalny, whose whereabouts are unknown, was last year held under house arrest between January and April and handed a one-year suspended sentence for violating safety regulations linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those charges were filed after he took part in a Moscow rally against his brother Alexei's arrest.

The Federal Penitentiary Service will petition a Moscow court on Feb. 18 to sentence Oleg Navalny to jail time for failing to comply with restrictions imposed against him for violating safety regulations, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old was released from prison in 2018 after serving three-and-a-half years for an embezzlement conviction that critics say was designed to pressure his brother and smother dissent.

Alexei Navalny was given a suspended sentence in the same case, converted into a prison term last year because of alleged parole violations. He says the charges against him are politically motivated.

An anti-corruption campaigner and high-profile critic of President Vladimir Putin for the past decade, he survived being poisoned with a nerve agent in 2020 and his political network was banned as "extremist" last year.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Anton Zverev; editing by John Stonestreet)

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