Navalny found guilty of fraud, faces up to 13 years in prison

Moscow, Mar 22 (EFE).- Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was found guilty of large-scale embezzlement Tuesday, a charge that could see him spend up to 13 years in prison.

“Navalny committed fraud, that is the appropriation of other people’s property through deception and abuse of trust,” judge Margarita Kotova said at the trial held at a prison colony outside Moscow, where the opposition leader is already serving a 2.5-year sentence on a previous fraud charge, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

The prosecution has requested Navalny be handed a 13-year sentence and a fine of 1.2 million rubles ($12,000) for the embezzlement charge and another for contempt of court.

Navalny, 45, and his associates were accused of siphoning off millions in donations to his anti-corruption campaign group (FBK), which sought to shine a light on the illicit riches of senior Russian officials.

The FBK was branded an “extremist” organization and prohibited in 2021.

Navalny has since February last year been serving a formerly suspended 2.5-year sentence dating to 2014.

The suspension of the sentence was lifted when the Russian judiciary accused him of breaching bail conditions while he was in Germany receiving treatment for a Novichok nerve agent poison attempt that almost claimed his life.

Navalny has claimed the poisoning was carried out by Russian state operatives with the blessing of president Vladimir Putin.

The opposition figure is Putin’s most vociferous public critic in Russia and from prison has urged Russians to protest against the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Amnesty International this month said the charges against Navalny were “arbitrary and politically motivated.”EFE


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