A Russian court rejected an appeal Thursday to overturn the 30-day detention of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny ahead of a hearing next month over whether he should face jail time for a years-old fraud case.
Navalny appeared by video link at the court in the city of Khimki, on the outskirts of Moscow. He continues to be held at the Matrosskaya Tishina detention center, in the northeast of the capital, reports the CNN.
The opposition activist was ordered to spend 30 days in custody during a surprise hearing on 18 January.
He had been detained a day earlier following his arrival from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from Novichok poisoning he blamed on the Russian government. The Kremlin repeatedly denied any involvement.
Navalny was placed on the country's federal wanted list last month for breaching the terms of probation related to the 2014 fraud case, which he dismisses as politically motivated.
His next court date is currently scheduled for 2 February, when a court will decide whether his three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence on fraud charges should be converted into a jail term due to what Russian authorities say is the violation of the terms of his suspended sentence.
The judge in Thursday's appeal hearing ruled that Navalny's detention was lawful and that the opposition leader would remain in detention.
Navalny's reaction on hearing the decision suggested he was expecting it. "Everything was clear to me even before the hearing," he told the court.
The politician had earlier complained about violations of legal procedures and a lack of opportunity to communicate with his lawyers since his detention on 17 January.
"Everything is so amazing here that I don't even know where to start. As usual it works: you take a court decision, look for violations of the law and speak about them when appealing. And here everything is one big violation of the law," Navalny said.
In his final statement, Navalny urged protesters to keep coming out.
"They are the last barrier that prevents those in power from stealing everything. They are the real patriots," he said. "You will not be able to intimidate us -- we are the majority."
Russian law enforcement conducted searches Wednesday at Navalny's Moscow apartment and his team's headquarters, according to his aides.
The raids came as Navalny's allies called for a second round of unsanctioned nationwide demonstrations, planned for Sunday, to demand the activist's release from detention.
Last weekend, tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets, resulting in nearly 4,000 detentions, according to monitoring group OVD-Info.