In the controversial new trial of imprisoned Putin critic Alexei Navalny, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office today demanded 13 years in prison and a fine of 1.2 million rubles (9,000 euros).
In the alleged fraud case, which his supporters describe as a political trial, Navalny’s team talks about new evidence of arbitrary justice in Russia. “We have said that Putin wants to keep Navalny in prison forever,” opposition spokeswoman Kira Yarmes said. Navalny is the most vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This time around, Navalny is accused of embezzling funds for his now-banned anti-corruption foundation and insulting a judge. According to his team, Navalny faces up to 15 years in prison.
The court refused to transfer the trial from the Pokrov criminal colony to Moscow, about 100 km away. Navalny, 45, told the court that those who ordered the trial feared anyone would see the charges as trumped up.
Yarmesh says that Putin took revenge on Navalny at the trial after he had failed to kill him before. The Kremlin’s fiercest critics narrowly escaped an assassination attempt involving the nerve agent Novichok in August 2020. President Putin has denied any involvement. The European Union imposed sanctions on Russia in response to the attack.
Navalny returned to Russia a year ago after recovering in a hospital in the German capital, Berlin. On January 17, 2021, he was arrested at Moscow airport for allegedly violating his circumstances in another criminal case during his recovery.
Recently, Navalny spoke out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and called on his supporters to demonstrate for peace, despite the risk of arrest and heavy legal charges.
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