Alexei Navalny, Who Exposed Putin's Hidden Wealth, Gets 9 More Years
A Russian court sentenced Aleksei Navalny, the jailed opposition leader and high-profile Putin critic who exposed his villas and hidden assets, to nine more years in prison for embezzling donations to Foundation for Fighting Corruption, the New York Times reported.
Photo Insert: Alexei Navalny's mugshot
For President Vladimir Putin, the war against Ukraine has made the fiery opposition leader even more of a liability. Navalny has been urging Russians, via letters from jail that his lawyers post to social media, to protest the invasion, and about 15,000 Russians had been arrested for slamming aggression in Ukraine, including children, survivors of the Holocaust, and the siege of Stalingrad, as well as journalists.
A judge also ruled that Navalny, a lawyer, and journalist, would have to pay a fine of 1.2 million rubles (about $11,500). Navalny can appeal the ruling, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Navalny, who is already serving 2½ years in a penal colony east of Moscow, had been accused of embezzling money that he and his foundation raised over the years and of insulting a judge during a previous trial.
The politician has rejected the allegations as politically motivated. The prosecution had asked for 13 years in a maximum security prison for the anti-corruption crusader and a 1.2 million-ruble fine.
Not content with convicting Navalny, the court also detained both of his lawyers immediately after the hearing, Reuters reported. Navalny was already serving a two-and-a-half sentence at a prison camp east of Moscow for parole violations related to charges that he says were fabricated to thwart his political ambitions.
Navalny also survived an assassination attempt by Putin agents who laced his drink with poison. After his sentence was pronounced, Navalny reacted on Twitter: "I want to say: The best support for me and other political prisoners is not sympathy and kind words, but actions. Any activity against the deceitful and thievish Putin's regime. Any opposition to these war criminals."