Alexey Navalny: Imprisoned Kremlin critic found guilty of fraud and sentenced to another nine years in prison

A prominent Kremlin critic, Navalny, was convicted of fraud by the Moscow Lefortovo court for allegations that he stole from his Anti-Corruption Fund.

Navalny, 45, is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence in a detention center east of the Russian capital after being arrested in February 2021 for violating probation, a sentence he said was politically motivated.
After Tuesday’s verdict was announced, Navalny wrote on Twitter: “9 years. Well, as the characters in my favorite TV series ‘The Wire’ used to say, ‘You only do two days. It’s the day you go in and the day you come out.’ . ”

He added: “I even had a T-shirt with this slogan, but the prison authorities confiscated it given the printed extremist.”

The Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported that Navalny, who was also fined 1.2 million rubles (about 11,500 USD), will appeal the verdict, according to his lawyer.

Tuesday’s verdict was handed down in the Pokrov penal colony by a gathering of visitors at the Lefortovo court.

While Judge Margarita Kotova read out the charges against him, footage showed Navalny as a skinny figure standing next to his lawyers in a room filled with security people. He seemed unmoved by the case and looked through some court documents at a table in front of him.

After the trial, Olga Mikhailova and Vadim Kobzev, two lawyers who worked for the opposition leader, were driven away in a prison car, the RIA reported before being released shortly after. According to the news agency, the lawyers were initially taken away for not complying with demands to block the road after the court hearing.

Navalny was first detained in February 2021 after arriving in Moscow from Berlin, Germany, where he had spent several months recovering from the poisoning of the neurotoxin Novichok – an attack he blames the Russian security services and Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. for.

Russian opposition leader and activist Alexei Navalny (right) is seen on a screen during an off-court hearing in the Pokrov penal colony in the Vladimir region of Russia on March 22.

In January, Russia added Navalny and his top aides to the “extremist and terrorist” federal registry, according to the Russian Federal Service for Financial Supervision. His Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) was also banned by the Russian courts last year as an “extremist” organization.

While in prison, Navalny has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine via social media, advocating anti-war protests across the country as “the backbone of the war and death movement,” according to Reuters.

In another tweet on Tuesday, Navalny said: “I am very grateful to everyone for their support. And guys, I want to say: the best support for me and other political prisoners is not sympathy and kind words, but actions. Any activity against it fraudulent and thieving Putin regime. Any opposition to these war criminals. “

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In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost a month ago, thousands of people were detained for anti-war demonstrations, including in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Petersburg.

The latest guilty verdict handed down to Navalny comes amid a growing repression of political disagreement in Russia.

Earlier this month, Putin signed a bill on censorship that made it impossible for news organizations to report the news accurately in or from Russia.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the law makes it a crime to spread “false” information about the invasion of Ukraine with a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for anyone convicted.

Last year, concerns about Navalny’s health were raised by his allies after he went through a week-long hunger strike and demanded “proper medical attention” – something his team claims he was unable to get in the penal colony in Pokrov.

Days after ending his hunger strike in April, Navalny’s network of regional offices for his political movement was “officially disbanded”, according to his chief of staff Leonid Volkov.

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