Russia, Navalny sentenced to another 19 years in prison

The Russian opposition leader was found guilty of founding and funding an extremist organization and activities

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, currently in a penal colony, was sentenced to an additional 19-year prison term. The BBC reports it, recalling that the public prosecution had asked for a 20-year sentence for the main critical voice against Vladimir Putin. Navalny was found guilty of founding and funding an extremist organization and activities.

On the eve of the sentence, the opponent of the Kremlin had said he expected ”a Stalinist condemnation”. On Twitter he had recalled that “twenty years were asked of him. They will give me 18. It will be a huge period”.

Navalny, 47, was arrested in 2021 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he was being treated after a near-fatal poisoning, for which he blamed Russia’s internal intelligence services. In March 2022 he was sentenced to nine years in prison after being found guilty of fraud and contempt of court. Navalny’s supporters have called the trial a farce and criticized the fact that it is being held behind closed doors and not in a court, but in the Melekhovo penal colony, 260 km from Moscow.

“First of all, this terrible sentence is an attempt to intimidate all of Alexei’s supporters,” she said in a statement. Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation. “Whatever happens, we will continue to fight for his freedom, for Russia without Putin’s regime and against the war – added the Foundation – All those who played a role in this absurd sentence will surely face justice”.

The new sentence of Alexei Navalny “is another example of the continued systematic repression by the Russian authorities and their contempt for the human rights of their citizens”, reads a declaration of the European Union which “strongly condemns” the new 19-year sentence imposed on the Russian opponent, who is being punished for “legitimate political activities and the fight against corruption”.

The sentence, the statement continues, “is a clear indication of how the Russian judicial system is being exploited against Navalny, and at the same time demonstrates the extent to which he is feared by the Russian authorities”. The statement of the 27 then condemned the conditions in which the trial was carried out “in an isolated penal colony outside Moscow, inaccessible to family members and observers”.

“The EU continues to condemn Navalny’s poisoning in the strongest possible ways, such as his detention, trial and conviction on political grounds and reiterates its request to Russia that he be released immediately and unconditionally”, concludes the EU statement which recalls the sanctions imposed on those responsible for the persecution of Navalny.