May 22, 2022

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Russia | Navalny was sentenced to nine years in prison under “severe rule”

Russia |  Navalny was sentenced to nine years in prison under "severe rule"

(Pokrov) A Russian judge on Tuesday sentenced Alexei Navalny to nine years in prison in a precarious situation, further intensifying the crackdown on the Kremlin’s main rival in the wake of the attack in Ukraine.

Posted at 6:47 p.m.
Updated to 10:21 am.

Russian power is strengthening its legal arsenal in all directions to suppress any criticism of power. The last example, the adoption, on Tuesday, is a law that provides strong sanctions to punish “false information” on the activity of Russian companies abroad.

The nine-year detention sentence pronounced against the opponent is revoked, replacing the two-and-a-half-year sentence he is serving and having one year already served.

Alexei Navalny, who was arrested in early 2021 for fraud, was this time convicted of “fraud” and “contempt of court” on charges he considered political.

With the exception of the unlikely victory on appeal, he would have had to be confined to a “severe regime” colony, in solitary confinement and under much more severe conditions than the so-called “ordinary” colonies, such as Pokrov, where he was now imprisoned.

Within the walls of this concentration camp, 100 km from Moscow, the opponent has been tried in a better court since mid-February.

“Putin is afraid of the truth, I always said. Fighting against censorship and delivering the truth to the Russian people remains our priority, “said David Cook, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau.

Prosecutors were arrested

The glamorous 45-year-old anti-corruption activist appeared at the trial on Tuesday in convicted felons, with his face frail, in the company of his lawyers.

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The AFP journalist said on the spot that after the verdict, he was briefly arrested after his release from prison. Their arrest came after police told them to leave the street where they were talking to the press.

Nearly a hundred journalists were able to attend the trial video broadcast in a room set up in the Penal Colony.

Only a rival supporter came to the demonstration in front of the jail.

“The novel is a hero […] People stay at home, they are scared, “said Leonid Banyonis, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau.

In the case on Tuesday, Alexei Navalny was accused of embezzling millions of rubles in the form of donations to his anti-corruption organizations and was charged with “contempt of court” in a previous trial.

Louie said the Kremlin made the allegations to keep him in jail for as long as possible.

Alexei Navalny, best known for his research into the corruption of the upper classes, suffered from repression for more than two years.

In August 2020, he became seriously ill and was poisoned by a neuroscientist sponsored by the President of Russia. The Kremlin has denied the allegations, but said that Russia’s authorities had never investigated the alleged assassination attempt.

After his return to Russia in January 2021, five months after his recovery, he was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to two and a half years in prison in a “fraud” case involving the French company Yves Rocher.

In June 2021, its organizations were designated and banned as “terrorists”, forcing many activists into exile. Others have been arrested and are serving heavy prison sentences.

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Opposition to the conflict in Ukraine

In addition to this relentless repression, the last media organizations and NGOs to criticize the Kremlin were banned.

Russia’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request to suspend the cancellation of an NGO memorial based on an order from the European Court of Human Rights, thus confirming the demolition of this pillar of civil society.

From his penal colony, Alexei Navalny continued to broadcast messages condemning Vladimir Putin’s authority and the invasion of Ukraine.

He continued to call for demonstrations against the conflict despite the dangers, as authorities further strengthened their legal arsenal, imposing heavy prison sentences, to silence any criticism of the Russian military.

At the same time, the government has tightened its grip on information dissemination, blocking access to dozens of media and numerous foreign social networks in Russia.