Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny A Russian court indicted him for widespread fraud and contempt.
Tuesday’s move means Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, is likely to face a significant extension of his prison sentence.
He is already serving a two-and-a-half year prison sentence in a concentration camp east of Moscow for parole violations related to charges he says were fabricated to thwart his political ambitions.
Another 13 years could now be added due to the latest criminal case against him, which he also described as politically motivated.
The emaciated Navalny stood next to his lawyer in a room full of prison security officers while the judge read out the charges against him. The 45-year-old seemed unfazed as he flipped the court papers.
Prosecutors asked the court to send him to a high-security penal colony for 13 years for fraud and contempt of court.. A verdict is expected later on Tuesday.
Judge Margarita Kotova said Navalny had committed the crime of publicly insulting the court.
She confirmed that he had pleaded not guilty to the fraud charges.
Navalny was imprisoned last year When he returned to Russia after receiving medical treatment in Germany After a toxic Soviet-era nerve agent attack during a visit to Siberia in 2020. Navalny blamed Putin for the attack.
The Kremlin said it had not seen any evidence of Navalny’s poisoning and denied any role for Russia if it was.
After the last court hearing in his case on March 15, Navalny took on a typical defiant tone, writing via Instagram: “If prison sentence is the price of my human right to say things that need to be said…they can ask for 113 years. I will not give up on my words or my actions.”
The Russian authorities viewed Navalny and his supporters as spoilers bent on destabilizing the country with the support of the West. Many of Navalny’s allies fled Russia rather than face restrictions or imprisonment at home.
Navalny’s opposition movement has been described as “extremist” and has been shut down, although his supporters continue to express their political positions, including their opposition to Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine, on social media.
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