After being postponed recently, Alexei Navalny’s trial started on Tuesday. The Russian opponent was charged with “contempt of court” and “fraud.”
The chief opponent, Alexei Navalny, was sentenced to nine years in jail in a “severe regime” on Tuesday, after being tried for “fraud” and “contempt of court.” “The March 22 judgment of the Lefortovo court remains unchanged,” a judge of the Moscow City Court declared, adding that it “went into force immediately.”
On March 22, the charismatic anti-corruption campaigner, who was already serving a sentence in a so-called “regular regime” colony, was sentenced to nine years in a “severe” regime, which has stricter incarceration circumstances. He was accused of embezzling millions of rubles in donations to his anti-corruption organizations, among other things.
This sentence includes one handed down in March 2021 for “fraud” in a case involving the French business Yves Rocher that dates back to 2014. The lawyers for the opponent quickly stated that they will appeal the decision.
“Your court, your system disgusts me.”
Alexei Navalny arrived via videoconference from Pokrov, a Russian colony 100 kilometers south of Moscow, where he was serving his first sentence. He listened to the judgment thoughtfully and sullenly while imprisoned in a cage. Called to speak before the close of the proceedings, the opponent did not mince his words, despite several calls to order from the court.
He remarked, “I loathe your court, your system,” and that the trial “made no sense.” He stated, “Of course, I don’t want to be in the cell.” “I’d rather watch my kids grow up.” “However, I urge people not to be fearful; fear is a crime against our future,” he added.
Repression is widespread.
Alexei Navalny was apprehended in January 2021, shortly after returning from Berlin, where he had spent several months recovering from poisoning for which he blames Russian President Vladimir Putin. The latter flatly denies the allegations, and no investigation has been launched.
This arrest signaled the beginning of a widespread crackdown in Russia on all anti-Kremlin movements and independent media. Since Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a military operation against Ukraine on February 24, this has risen even further.