Putin Opponent Navalny Sentenced to 9 More Years in Prison

Photo: Alexei Navalny / Instagram
Photo: Alexei Navalny / Instagram

The hostile action against Navalny has been taken despite a slew of sanctions and censure statements by the U.S. and European leaders against Russia.

By Rakesh Raman

A Russian court has sentenced Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to 9 years in a high-security prison. In its ruling on Tuesday (March 22), the court imposed a new punishment on Navalny, who is already serving a 2.5-year sentence for violating parole in his poisoning recovery. 

Navalny was taken to Germany for treatment in August 2020 from the Siberian city of Omsk where doctors had kept him in a state of artificial coma. The German hospital treating him has said that tests indicate he was poisoned. 

Navalny blames Russian President Vladimir Putin for the attempt to assassinate him. A fierce political opponent of Putin, Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation are charged with embezzlement of donations from supporters.

The Russian authorities had arbitrarily banned Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation last year, as it was exposing the corruption of Putin and kleptocrats associated with him.

The U.S. and the European Union (EU) have condemned the new sentencing of Navalny, saying it is politically motivated to silence the anti-corruption activist.

“We condemn Russian authorities’ politically motivated conviction and sentencing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on additional spurious charges to nine more years in a high security prison. This outlandish prison term is a continuation of the Kremlin’s years-long assault on Navalny and on his movement for government transparency and accountability,” the U.S. Department of State said in a statement released on March 22.

Of course, according to the statement, Navalny’s true crime in the eyes of the Kremlin is his work as an anti-corruption activist and opposition politician, for which he and his associates have been branded “extremists” by Russian authorities.

In a series of tweets on Navalny’s Twitter account accused Putin of war crimes and challenged Navalny’s conviction.

According to a March 22 story in The Moscow Times, investigators accused Navalny of stealing for personal use more than $4.7 million in donations that were given to his political organizations which were retroactively declared “extremist” last year. That sum was lowered to 2.7 million rubles ($25,800) during the course of the trial.

The hostile action against Navalny has been taken despite a slew of sanctions and censure statements by the U.S. and European leaders against Russia. It is alleged that after sending him to jail under frivolous charges, the Russian regime is slowly trying to murder Navalny, who is serving a torturous prison sentence near Moscow.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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Rakesh Raman