May 16, 2022

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Kremlin critic Navalny sentenced to 9 years in prison for 'fraud and contempt of court'

Kremlin critic Navalny sentenced to 9 years in prison for ‘fraud and contempt of court’

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (left) with two lawyers during the trial.Reuters photo

According to the court, Navalny had stolen more than 4 million euros from his private anti-corruption organization FBK, which is now blocked by the authorities. The accusations were based on controversial statements made by four people who allegedly donated money to FBK. Navalny was also found guilty of “contempt of court” in a previous trial for allegedly insulting a war veteran there. The prosecutor had demanded 13 years for both crimes together, and the judge kept her for 9 years.

Navalny also sees this condemnation as a reward for his public criticism of the Kremlin. After the last hearing last week, he was quoted on Instagram as saying: “Even if you claim 113 years against me, you don’t intimidate me or intimidate people like me.” On Tuesday, he also reacted succinctly to his years in prison. Quote from the American TV series the wire: ‘You only sit for two days. The day you enter and the day you leave. In his closing speech, he announced that he would also continue his fight against corruption and censorship in captivity. “Words have power, and Putin is afraid of the truth,” Navalny said.

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Navalny must fear for his life

In the high-security criminal camp, Navalny will be isolated from the outside world, and according to his spokesman must fear for his life. The Russian authorities tried to kill him before. During a visit to the Siberian city of Tomsk in 2020, Navalny was poisoned with novichok, a nerve gas often used by Russian authorities to eliminate dissidents. Then Navalny was urgently taken to a German hospital, where he recovered.

Upon returning from Germany, Navalny was immediately arrested. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for failing to inform the Russian authorities during his illness. He was required to attend regularly on the basis of a previous suspended sentence. According to Navalny, that conviction was only intended to silence him.

According to many, the current process was also purely political. Amnesty International described them as “sham” and according to German Chancellor Olaf Schulz, they “contradict the rule of law”.