Russian Prosecutors Demand 13 More Years in Prison for Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny

Russian prosecutors on March 15 asked the court to jail opposition leader Alexei Nalvany for an additional 13 years on new fraud and contempt of court charges.

“I request that Navalny be sentenced to a term of 13 years and a subsequent two years of probation,” state prosecutor Nadezhda Tikhonova said, as quoted by Russian news agencies.

Tikhonova accused Nalvany of embezzling funds “from an indefinite circle of people” and insulting court officials during his February 2021 trial.

Tikhonova also asked the court to send Navalny to a “strict regime” penal colony, where he would face much harsher conditions, and to impose a 1.2 million ruble ($10,595) fine.

The judge will issue a verdict on March 22.

It is not immediately clear if the additional 13 years would include the 2.5-year prison sentence Navalny was already serving in a jail located around 100 kilometers east of Moscow.

The corruption charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years while contempt of court carry a penalty of up to six months.

Responding to the request for the additional jail term, Navalny said on Twitter, “If this term is the price for my human right to say what I consider necessary, and the civil right to fight for a better future for Russia, then they can ask for even 113 years. I will not retract my words or my actions.”

Navalny’s Chief of Staff Leonid Volkov said on Twitter that Navalny “was sentenced to life from the very start. As long as [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is still in the Kremlin.”

The transmission of the trial taking place in a makeshift court got cut off twice during Navalny’s final speech when he mentioned the war that Putin declared against Ukraine, according to his press secretary Kira Yarmysh.

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