Russia sentences Navalny to nine years in jail

2. Russia
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s lawyers Olga Mikhailova and Vadim Kobzev walk away from the IK-2 prison colony in the town of Pokrov in Vladimir Region on March 22, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
POKROV, Russia — A Russian court on Tuesday found jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny guilty of additional charges and extended his sentence to nine years in a higher security prison as Moscow seeks to wipe out remaining pockets of dissent.اضافة اعلان

The sentencing came on the 27th day of what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in pro-Western Ukraine, with thousands killed and some 10 million displaced.

Following the verdict, President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal domestic critic who has been behind bars for roughly a year said the Russian leader was afraid of the truth.

“Putin is afraid of the truth, I have always said this. Fighting censorship, relaying the truth to the people of Russia always remained our priority,” the 45-year-old opposition politician said in a post on Instagram after the sentencing.

With his trademark sense of humor, Navalny took the extension of his jail time on new charges of embezzlement and contempt of court in stride, joking that his “space flight is being extended — my ship has gotten caught in a time loop.”

He also urged Russians to resist “these war criminals”.

He stood trial inside his penal colony in the town of Pokrov outside Moscow.

“Navalny committed fraud — the theft of property by an organized group,” judge Margarita Kotova said, according to an AFP reporter present at the hearing.

The judge also found Navalny guilty of the less severe charge of contempt of court.

Navalny will serve his new sentence in a “strict-regime” penal colony, which will place him in much harsher conditions.

His lawyers, Olga Mikhailova, and Vadim Kobzev, were briefly detained by police outside the prison following the verdict but were later freed.

Navalny’s defense team said that the new sentence replaces the one he is currently serving, meaning that Navalny will not be freed for another eight years, instead of a year and a half.

Read more Region and World