September 27, 2022

Alexey Navalny, a jailed Kremlin opponent, has been found guilty of fraud, according to state media

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Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, was found guilty of fraud on Tuesday, a conviction that might mean years more in prison for the outspoken Kremlin critic.

Navalny was found guilty of theft from his Anti-Corruption Foundation, as well as contempt of court, by the Lefortovo court in Moscow, according to Russian state-owned news agency Tass.
Prosecutors had stated that they were seeking a 13-year prison sentence.
Navalny was arrested in February 2021 and is presently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence in a prison camp east of Moscow, a verdict he claims was politically motivated.
A visiting session of the Lefortovo court handed out the punishment on Tuesday in the Pokrov prison colony.

According to Tass, Judge Margarita Kotova read out in the verdict, “Navalny committed fraud, i.e. the theft of someone else’s property by deception.”

According to Reuters, the 45-year-old Navalny cut a skeletal figure beside his lawyers in a chamber filled with jail security personnel as the court read out the charges against him. He looked unaffected as he flipped through court paperwork, gazing down.

After arriving in Moscow in February 2021 from Berlin, Germany, where he had spent several months recovering from nerve agent Novichok poisoning, which he blames on Russian secret agencies and Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, the opposition leader was jailed.

According to the Russian Government Service for Financial Monitoring, Russia put Navalny and his senior aides to the “extremist and terrorist” federal registry in January. His Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) was likewise declared a “extremist” group by Russian courts last year.

According to Reuters, Navalny has used social media to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, advocating anti-war protests around the country as “the backbone of the fight against war and death.”

Thousands of people were detained for anti-war protests in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine about a month ago, notably in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Navalny’s guilty judgment comes amid an increasing crackdown in Russia on political dissent.

Putin passed a censorship measure into law earlier this month, making it difficult for news companies to accurately publish news from or about Russia.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the law makes disseminating “fake” information about the invasion of Ukraine a crime, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Concerns about Navalny’s health were raised by his associates last year after he went on a weeks-long hunger strike to seek “appropriate medical care,” which his team alleges he couldn’t get in the Pokrov prison colony.

Navalny’s network of regional offices for his political campaign were “formally liquidated” days after he ended his hunger strike in April, according to his chief of staff Leonid Volkov.

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