Jailed Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to an additional 19 years behind bars on costs his supporters have branded trumped as much as preserve him out of politics for even longer.
The 47-year-old, who’s President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest home critic, is already serving greater than 11 years in jail for fraud and different alleged crimes he argues are additionally bogus.
Mr Navalny’s political motion has been outlawed and declared “extremist”.
State prosecutors had requested the courtroom at hand him one other twenty years in a penal colony on six separate prison costs, together with inciting and financing extremist exercise and creating an extremist organisation.
It’s extensively seen as a deliberate, politically-motivated technique by the Kremlin to silence its most vocal opponent, who uncovered official corruption and organised large-scale protests.
In a message posted on social media through his attorneys and aides, Mr Navalny mentioned the end result of the case didn’t matter as he was additionally threatened with terrorism charges that would deliver many years in jail.
He mentioned: “It should be a protracted sentence. What is known as ‘Stalinist’.”
He mentioned the intention was to frighten Russians, however urged them to not let that occur and to assume laborious about how finest to withstand what he known as the “villains and thieves within the Kremlin”.
The fees relate to his position in his now defunct motion inside Russia, which the authorities accused of making an attempt to set off a revolution by searching for to destabilise the nation.
In his closing assertion final month, delivered behind closed doorways on the jail in Melekhovo, about 145 miles (235 km) east of Moscow the place he’s serving his sentences, Mr Navalny defined why he would preserve opposing the Russian authorities.
He mentioned: “For a brand new, free, wealthy nation to be born, it will need to have dad and mom. Those that need it. Who count on it and who’re keen to make sacrifices for its delivery.”
Mr Putin, in energy since 1999, is predicted to run for one more six-year presidential time period in 2024.
With Russia waging what he calls its “particular navy operation” in Ukraine and locked in what he describes as an existential battle with the West, Mr Putin says it’s critical for the nation to stay united.
In February, the Russian chief ordered the FSB inner safety service to step up its actions and mentioned it was vital “to determine and cease the unlawful actions of those that try to divide and weaken our society”.
How Putin’s reign could come to an end
Mr Navalny, who within the final decade introduced tens of hundreds of individuals on to the streets, was detained in January 2021 after returning to Moscow from Germany the place he had been handled for what German docs mentioned was poisoning by a Soviet-era nerve agent.
The Kremlin, which at one level accused him of working with the CIA to undermine Russia, denied any involvement in what occurred to him and denies persecuting Mr Navalny.
It has claimed he by no means represented a severe political problem and that his case is solely a authorized matter for the courts.