A Russian judge has indicted opposition leader Alexei Navalny for widespread fraud and contempt of a judge, state media reported. Prosecutors demanded an additional 13 years in prison, but nothing is known about the sentence.
Navalny has been held in a criminal colony about 100 km from Moscow for more than a year after an earlier conviction. He will be released in a year and a half, but a new prison sentence will put an end to that.
In the new indictment, prosecutors say Navalny and his organization misused sponsor money for improper purposes. That took ten years. Several more years were added for other crimes, such as insulting a judge at his previous trial.
Navalny, with the support of international human rights organizations, asserts that it is a political process. According to his organization, which went into exile, the Kremlin wants to do everything possible to keep Navalny behind bars for as long as possible. The judge in the case is said to be in direct contact with an official from the presidential apparatus in Moscow.
His team asserts that there is no actual trial. The few witnesses who were brought in who donated money to Navalny’s organization are said to have been severely pressured or misled.
Navalny could be transferred to another criminal colony, with a stricter regime, as a result of conviction. There are fears that he will be separated more from the outside world, and Navalny’s team also anticipates another attempt on his life. Previously, Navalny was poisoned, which narrowly escaped. Western scholars determined that novichok had been used; According to Navalny, President Putin should at least be aware of this.
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