Kremlin Critic Navalany sentenced to prison
On Tuesday, a Russian court announced that Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny, was jailed on additional charges and extended his prison sentence to nine years in a maximum-security prison, as Moscow seeks to root out remaining dissent.
The verdict came on the 27th day of what Moscow called, a special military operation. in pro-Western Ukraine, which left thousands dead and some, 10 million, displaced.
After the ruling, President Vladimir Putin’s strongest internal critic, who had been behind bars for about a year, said that the Russian leader was afraid of the truth. “Putin is afraid of the truth, I always say. Fighting censorship, bringing the truth to the Russian people has always been our priority,” the 5-year-old rival said, in an Instagram post after the sentencing.
With his signature sense of humor, Navalny applied for an extension of his prison sentence on new charges of embezzlement and contempt of court, joking about his space flight getting extended, “My ship saw I’m stuck in a time loop.”
Britain also called on the Russians to fight those war criminals.
He was tried inside his penal colony, in the town of Pokrov, outside Moscow.
Judge Margarita Kotova said that Navalny had committed fraud by ceasing the property through organized groups.
The judge also found Navalny with a lesser charge of contempt of court.
Navalny will be sentenced under the new strict regime of the penal colony and will get punished with nasty conditions.
His lawyers, Olga Mikhailova and Vadim Kobzev were detained by police, outside the prison. following the sentence but were later released.
Navalny’s defense team said that the new sentence replaces the one he is serving, meaning Navalny will not be released for eight years, rather than a year and a half.
Leader of the Opposition was sentenced to two and a half years last year for breaching an amnesty on former fraud charges while recovering from an abusive attack agent of Novichok blames on the Kremlin.
Navalny will also have to pay a fine of 1.2 million rubles ($11,500) and will be subject to various restrictions on his movements and activities for another 1.5 years.
On Tuesday, he appeared at an interim hearing in the black uniform of the prison, and the hearing was done through a video link.
He listened attentively to Judge Kotova read the sentence, smiling from time to time.
Navalny has denied the charges against him, saying it was punishment for defying 69-year-old Putin.
Investigators have accused Navalny of stealing several million dollars in donations to the political organizations on his own.
Last week, prosecutors requested Navalny’s sentence to be protracted to thirteen years and getting him transferred to the penal colony under a strict regime.
On Tuesday, AFP witnessed a few supporters of the Navalny, outside the colony.
“There are no people. Everyone shouted in their apartment.” Partisan Leopold Banonis told reporters that they were afraid of a criminal colony, calling Navalny a hero.
“This sentence can be predictable, but shocking,” director of Amnesty International for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Marie Struthers, said.
“The world must not ignore this phrase and its meaning amid the terrible human rights abuses we have witnessed following Russia’s act of aggression against Ukraine.”
Navalny is Russia’s main opposition leader, and his team regularly publishes surveys of the wealth of Russia‘s elite that have garnered millions of views on YouTube.
Navalny’s poisoning with Novichok in 2020, has drawn condemnation widely abroad and the sanctions from Western capitals.
The Kremlin denies any involvement.
After the arrest of Navalny, and his political organization that was around the country, declared radical and closed, while key aides fled to Russia.
Russia has also stepped-up pressure on independent media and NGOs, declaring many people as foreign spies, while others have shut down out of fear and aggression.
Many media outlets were shut down after Russia passed a new law that provides for sentences of up to 15 years in prison for false information about Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.
On Monday, the Moscow court has banned Facebook and Instagram and restricted their access to the information displayed on various social media platforms.