Russian court finds Kremlin critic Navalny guilty of fraud
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears on a monitor via a link while he is awaiting the verdict of his trial for embezzlement/contempt of court at the IK-2 jail colony in Pokrov, Vladimir Region. March 22, 2022.
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Russian courts found Alexei Navalny, the Kremlin critic who was jailed Tuesday for large-scale fraud. It is likely that this will see Russia’s leading critic of President Vladimir Putin spend years in jail.
Navalny, who is currently serving two-and-a half sentences in prison east of Moscow, for parole violation related to accusations he alleges were invented to stop him from pursuing his political goals.
In the latest criminal case against him, which he has also dismissed as politically-motivated, he could have up to 13 years added to that sentence.
The judge read his accusations to Navalny as he stood in front of him, along with his lawyers. As he looked down, the 45-year old seemed calm as he read through court papers.
The court was asked by the prosecution to place him in a maximum security penal colony, for a period of 13 years. He is being charged with fraud and contempt. On Tuesday, a ruling will be made.
Navalny was sentenced to prison last year after he had received medical treatment in Germany for a deadly poisoning attack that he suffered from a Soviet-era nerve gas. The attack occurred during his 2020 visit to Siberia. Navalny blamed Putin.
However, the Kremlin denied that Navalny had been poisoned.
Navalny was notably defiant after the March 15 court hearing. He wrote via Instagram, “If prison is the cost of my human rights to speak the truth that needs to be spoken… then they could ask for 113 year.” “I will not give up my actions or words.”
Russian authorities consider Navalny and those who support him as subversives, determined to destroy Russia. They also have the backing of the West. Many of Navalny’s sympathies fled Russia, rather than being held in jail or restrictions at home.
Navalny’s opposition group has been labeled “extremist” by the authorities and closed down. However, his supporters are still able to voice their political views, including opposition to Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine on social media.