Prosecutors demand 13-year sentence for Putin critic Alexei Navalny

Prosecutors demand 13-year sentence for Putin critic Alexei Navalny

Russian prosecutors demand 13 more years in jail for Putin critic Alexei Navalny as he faces being moved to maximum security prison

  • Prosecutors called for dissident Alexei Navalny to be given 13 years in prison
  • Putin’s opponent is currently the subject of fraud and contempt of court charges 
  • The Kremlin critic is already serving a two-and-a-half year sentence 
  • The charges brought against him are widely thought to be fabricated 
  • Navalny’s supporters have accused Putin of orchestrating the trial to take place as the world’s attention is focused on the situation in Ukraine 
  • Navalny was poisoned, likely by Russian agents, in 2020 and barely survived 

Russian prosecutors today demanded that a court sentence jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to an additional 13 years on fraud and contempt of court charges and to move him to a maximum security prison, Navalny’s spokeswoman said.

Navalny is already serving a two-and-a-half year sentence at a prison camp east of Moscow for parole violations related to charges widely believed to be trumped up to thwart his challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

‘We’ve been saying that Putin wants to keep Navalny in prison forever. The upcoming sentence has nothing to do with the law,’ the spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, wrote on Twitter.

According to Yarmysh, the prosecutors had asked for the transfer to a maximum security prison, arguing that Navalny had committed crimes while being kept in the prison camp, thus becoming a repeat offender.

‘Thirteen years for a fabricated case, for fake ”victims”, for witnesses who had testified under pressure and then publicly denounced their testimonies in court,’ she wrote, adding that there would still be at least another court session on the case before the sentence is announced.

Russian prosecutors today demanded that a court sentence jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny (pictured in 2021) to an additional 13 years on fraud and contempt of court charges and to move him to a maximum security prison, Navalny’s spokeswoman said

Navalny is already serving a two-and-a-half year sentence at a prison camp east of Moscow for parole violations related to charges widely believed to be trumped up to thwart his challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin

‘We’ve been saying that Putin (pictured) wants to keep Navalny in prison forever. The upcoming sentence has nothing to do with the law,’ Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, wrote on Twitter

In the wake of the prosecutors’ request, Navalny released a statement via Yarmysh on social media, denouncing the corruption within the Russian justice system while warning the Russian people will eventually rise up against the regime.

‘To the judge and prosecutors, the meaning of justice is the inevitability of punishment. And it will come.

‘Do you really not understand that, at the end of the day, working on the payroll (of Putin and oligarchs) comes at a cost?

‘You want to give me 13 years in a max security prison. According to the statistics, you give seven years for murder most of the time.

‘But it doesn’t matter to me – you might as well ask and give me 113 years. You don’t scare me. Russia is big, there are lot of people here, and they are not all ready to give up their futures and the futures of their kids as cowardly as you have done.’ 

Last week, Russian authorities put Yarmysh on a wanted list and are now seeking jail time for her. She left Russia last year after a court imposed 18 months of restrictions on her freedom of movement for breaching COVID-19 safety rules.

Russian authorities have cracked down hard on the opposition, and many of Navalny’s most prominent allies have left Russia rather than face restrictions or jail at home.

Navalny – Putin’s most prominent opponent – was jailed last year when he returned to Russia after receiving medical treatment in Germany following a poison attack with a nerve agent during a visit to Siberia in 2020.

The dissident blamed authorities for the attack – a charge they have denied but is widely thought to be accurate – and has been kept in prison since he returned.

Relaying messages via Yarmysh and other associates, Navalny has repeatedly called for anti-war protests since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in late February. 

Last week, Russian authorities put Yarmysh on a wanted list for her association with Navalny and are now seeking jail time for her too. She left Russia last year after a court imposed 18 months of restrictions on her freedom of movement for breaching COVID-19 safety rules

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, center, and Kira Yarmysh, foreground left, pose for a selfie inside a bus on their way to an aircraft at an airport outside Tomsk, a city in Siberia, Russia Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020

Maria Pevchikh, one of Navalny’s close associates and an investigative journalist involved in the dissidents Anti-Corruption Foundation, has warned a long-term jail sentence would likely see Navalny endure another attempt on his life

Relaying messages via Yarmysh and other associates, Navalny has repeatedly called for anti-war protests since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in late February (protestors are arrested at Manezhnaya Square in front of the Kremlin, March 13,2022)

Maria Pevchikh, one of Navalny’s closest supporters and head of the investigative unit of the Anti-Corruption Foundation he created in 2011, speculated recently on Twitter that a long-term sentence may give rise to another attempt on his life.

‘We should hope it’s just the trial they are disguising and distracting us from, not something worse. Which, again, is not that crazy to expect,’ Pevchikh wrote.

‘Putin did order to kill Navalny once and managed to get away with it. The line has been crossed. Nothing stops Putin from doing it again.’

The fraud case which first landed Navalny in prison began in December 2020, while the 45-year-old was recovering in Germany after narrowly surviving the nerve agent attack.

Most commentators believe Navalny is innocent of the charges brought against him and accuse Russian authorities of manufacturing a case to silence the dissident’s criticism of President Putin. 

Russian authorities last June branded Navalny’s political organisations ‘extremist’, prompting his team to shut down the regional network that supported his political campaigns and corruption investigations. 

The Anti-Corruption Foundation, which was set up by Navalny in 2001 and whose investigations are overseen by Pevchikh, was officially liquidated by the Moscow City Court.

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