3 Feb 2021

Russia: Moscow court sentenced three-and-a-half years in prison to opposition leader Alexey Navalny

Russia's opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison by a Moscow court, convicted of violating the terms of probation. Navalny (44), a critic of President Vladimir Putin, was arrested on 17 January while returning from Germany. He was undergoing treatment in Germany for five months following a nerve agent (poison) attack. He blamed the Russian government for the attack on him from a nerve agent. However, the Russian government denied his allegations and said that no evidence of poisoning was found.

Earlier Navalny criticized the ongoing trial in a Moscow court against him. He said that the government is taking action against them to intimidate millions of people. At the same time, the prosecution requested the court to sentence Navalni to jail for violation of the rules.

Navalni, in court, cited Putin's fear and disgust as the reason behind his arrest, saying that history would be known to the leader of Russia as a poisoner. He said in court, "The goal is to scare people." They want to intimidate millions by putting a man in jail.

Russia's prosecution alleged that Navalny violated the terms of his suspended sentence of three and a half years in 2014 for money laundering. Navlani, however, dismissed the allegations as politically motivated. The prosecution requested the Simonovski District Court to sentence him.

Navalny said that the Court of Europe for Human Rights had ruled that his conviction in 2014 was illegal and that Russia should pay him compensation. Navalny and his lawyers said that since he was undergoing treatment in Germany, he could not report privately to the Russian authorities. Navalni said in the hearing on Tuesday, "After the completion of treatment, I came back to Moscow. What else could I do?

After Navalny was sent to prison, there was widespread protests across Russia over the past two weekends, and people shouted slogans against Putin demanding Navalny be released. Police on Sunday detained a total of 5750 people from across the country, including over 1900 people in Moscow. Most of the people were released after being handed a court summons. 

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