Putin critic Navalny sentenced to 3.5 years in prison

(Update 2: adds info on sentence)

Moscow, Feb 2 (efe-epa).- Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Tuesday, as a judge imposed a suspended sentence from 2014 that the European Court of Human Rights has dismissed as arbitrary.

Navalny was arrested on 17 January when he returned to Russia from Germany after months of recovering from a Novichok nerve agent poisoning that almost claimed his life. The 44-year-old has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being implicated in the attack.

The judge ruled that Navalny violated the terms of his probation while in Germany.

Over 200 people were arrested on Tuesday near the Moscow court where the hearing was held.

Most of the arrested were supporters of Navalny, although several journalists were also detained, Russian monitoring group OVD-Info reported.

Navalny, 44, arrived at the court with his lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, and wife, Yulia. His arrest last month sparked protests in Russia and over 5,600 people were arrested during a demonstration on Sunday, according to OVD-Info. EFE-EPA


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