Alexei Navalny has demanded the Russian government return the clothes he was wearing the day he fell into a coma after being poisoned with nerve agent Novichok.
Mr Navalny, an outspoken critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin and leader of the country’s opposition party, on Monday accused Moscow of withholding the clothes and said they form a “very important” piece of evidence in his case.
The politician fell ill and collapsed on a flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20 and was flown to Germany, where he was kept in an induced coma in a Berlin hospital for more than two weeks.
Mr Navalny has accused the Kremlin of involvement in the poisoning, which Russian officials have vehemently denied.
The German government has said tests in Germany, France and Sweden have determined he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent - the method used in the “Salisbury poisonings” of former Russian agent and British informant, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia in 2018 - and Western governments, including British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, have demanded an explanation from Russia.
Mr Navalny, who is still recovering in hospital in Berlin, made the demands for his personal items to be returned on his website. He stated that his clothes had been taken away from him by Russian authorities before he was flown to Germany for treatment.
"Before they allowed for me to be taken to Germany, they took off all my clothes and sent me completely naked.
"Considering Novichok was found on my body, and that infection through contact is very likely, my clothes are a very important piece of evidence.
"I demand that my clothes be carefully packed in a plastic bag and returned to me," he said.
Mr Navalny's clothes were taken by investigators and are no longer in the hospital in Siberia's Omsk where he was initially hospitalised, the RIA news agency cited the local health ministry as saying.
Moscow has said it is yet to see evidence of a crime and has declined to open an investigation so far, instead opening a pre-investigation probe. The Kremlin has denied any involvement.
But Mr Navalny has accused the pre-investigation protocol of being a way to hide evidence.
He wrote: “The 30 days of 'pre-investigation probe' were used to hide this important evidence.”
The Russian transport police told Reuters the probe was still under way and that they had questioned 200 people and planned to carry out further checks. They have also sent requests for legal assistance to Germany, France and Sweden.