Alexei Navalny sentenced to another nine years in prison

Alexei Navalny during a demonstration in Moscow on February 29, 2020.

Russian adversary Alexei Navalny, who was imprisoned, was sentenced to another nine years’ imprisonment on Tuesday, March 22, after being convicted of fraud and contempt of court.

“Navalny committed fraud by an organized group, theft of property from others.”At the beginning of reading the ruling, which took several hours, Judge Margarita Kotoba said. The prosecution demanded 13 years in prison.

Forty-five Russian opponents have been on trial since mid-February in the walls of a penal colony 100 km east of Moscow. He has already been sentenced to two and a half years for fraud for over a year. According to him, this case was also forged.

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Transfer to a “strict regime” prison

At the end of the sentence, Alexei Navalny may be transferred to the next prison at the request of the prosecution. “Hard diet”A place far from Moscow, where the conditions of detention are much stricter.

About 100 journalists participated in a video broadcast of a hearing in a press room set up in a criminal colony. In the midst of a wave of intimidation and oppression against the Kremlin’s critical voice, there were no enemy supporters, except for his two lawyers.

In a case brought to justice on Tuesday, investigators accused Mr. Navalny of embezzling millions of rubles in a donation to an anti-corruption organization.“” Contempt of Court “ At one of his previous hearings.

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Alexei Navalny, an activist renowned for his bitter investigation into corruption and the lifestyle of the Russian elite, survived a serious addiction blaming President Vladimir Putin in 2020. In August 2020, he became seriously ill in Siberia, a victim of nerve agent poisoning. The Kremlin has denied any involvement, but Russian authorities have never investigated the alleged attempted assassination.

Navalny’s call to demonstrate against the war in Ukraine

When he returned to Russia in January 2021, five months after his recovery, he was arrested and sentenced to two and a half years in prison for a “fraud” involving the French company Yves Rocher, dating back to 2014. I did. In June 2021, his organization, which has been campaigning for many years across Russia, was designated. “Extreme” It was soon banned and many activists were exiled to avoid prosecution. Others have since been arrested and face heavy imprisonment.

This relentless crackdown, accompanied by a ban on the last media and NGOs critical of the Kremlin, has triggered protests in Western countries and sanctions against Moscow.

Even from his penal colony, Alexei Navalny continues to send messages condemning the power of Vladimir Putin. He has been strongly opposed to the fight since the attack in Ukraine. He continues to call for protests against the conflict, despite the risks involved, and authorities have imposed heavy imprisonment and further strengthened legal weapons to curb criticism of Russian troops. ..

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Despite all, more than 15,000 people were arrested in Russia in about a month for opposition to the attack, according to the expert NGO OVD-Info. At the same time, the Russian government has strengthened its grip on the dissemination of conflict-related information by blocking access to dozens of domestic and foreign media in Russia. On Monday, Russian justice also banned popular American social networks Instagram and Facebook, which were accused of being like Mr. Navalny, “Extremeism”.. Like Twitter and TikTok, these are already blocked in Russia.

World with AFP