Putin’s enemy Navalny convicted of new charges of fraud, adding 9 years to his prison sentence

Moscow Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been sentenced to a longer prison term on top of the one he is already serving. In a trial that Kremlin critics see as an attempt to keep President Vladimir Putin’s most ardent enemy behind bars for as long as possible, a Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced Navalny to nine years in prison in one of Russia’s infamous penal colonies after finding him guilty of fraud. and contempt of court.

The prosecution accused Navalny, who is currently serving 2 1/2 years in a penal colony east of Moscow, of embezzling money he and his fund raised over the years and of insulting a judge during a previous trial. Navalny rejected the allegations as politically motivated.

The court ruled on Tuesday that Navalny should be moved from a prison camp near Moscow to a high-security prison, probably further away from Moscow. His team fears the move will make it even harder to control him.

“Without public protection, Alexey will come face to face with those who have already tried to kill him, and nothing will stop them from trying again,” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Tuesday. “That’s why we’re talking now not only about Alexey’s freedom, but also about his life.”

The imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is attending a court hearing in Pokrov
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, accused of fraud and contempt of court, and his lawyers Olga Mikhailova and Vadim Kobzev are seen on screen via a video link during a court hearing in a penal colony in the city of Pokrov in the Vladimir region, Russia on March 22, 2022. .


It had the prosecution asked for 13 years in a maximum security prison for the crusader against corruption and a fine of 1.2 million rubles (approximately 10,700 USD). The fine was handed down along with 9 years in prison on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether Navalny was expected to serve the new sentence at the same time as his current one, or on top of it.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement condemning what it called the “politically motivated conviction and sentencing” of Navalny on “falsified charges.”

“This bizarre prison sentence is a continuation of the Kremlin’s years of attacks on Navalny and on his movement for government transparency and accountability. Of course, Navalny’s true crime in the eyes of the Kremlin is his work as an anti-corruption activist and opposition politician,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The trial, which opened about a month ago, took place in a temporary courtroom in the prison colony a few hours away from Moscow, where Navalny is serving a sentence for violating parole. Navalny’s supporters have criticized the authorities’ decision to move the case there from a courthouse in Moscow, saying it has effectively restricted access to the cases for media and supporters.

Navalny, 45, has appeared at hearings wearing a prison suit and given several detailed speeches during the trial, in which he dismisses the charges against him as false.

Navalny was arrested in January 2021 immediately after his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin, a claim that Russian officials vehemently denied. Shortly after the arrest, a court sentenced him to 2 1/2 years in prison for the probation violations stemming from a suspended sentence in 2014 in a fraud case that Navalny insists was politically motivated.

Visibly skinny Alexei Navalnyj shows up in public for the first time since hunger strike


Following Navalny’s imprisonment, authorities unleashed an extensive assault on his staff and supporters. His closest allies have left Russia after facing several criminal charges, and his Foundation for Fighting Corruption and a network of nearly 40 regional offices were banned as extremists – a term that exposes those involved to prosecution.

Last month, Russian officials added Navalny and a number of his staff to a state register of extremists and terrorists.

Several criminal cases have been initiated against Navalny individually, prompting his staff to suggest that the Kremlin intend to keep him behind bars for as long as possible.

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