Imprisoned opposition activist Navalny facing more charges
Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has said he could end up spending more time in prison, with authorities having signaled additional charges against him. Earlier this year, the Western-backed activist was found guilty of donation embezzlement and contempt of court, and was sentenced to nine years behind bars plus a hefty fine.
On Thursday, Navalny's team posted a message on his Instagram account, which claimed he had “received an official notification” that a new criminal probe had been launched into his alleged illegal activities while in custody. These include the “promotion of terrorism” and extremism, funding of extremist activities as well as the “exoneration of Nazism.”
The opposition activist pointed out that he has been incarcerated ever since he returned to Russia from Germany in January 2021, after being treated there for an alleged poisoning.
“Few criminals have pulled off as much while at large as I have while behind bars,” Navalny quipped ironically.
According to the politician, he is suspected of leading a criminal group represented by his close associates, who have all fled Russia.
Navalny claimed that some of the charges brought against him stem from remarks made by his associate Leonid Volkov in videos posted on the ‘Popular politics’ YouTube channel.
“The lawyers estimated that, considering the prison terms envisaged under these paragraphs, [I could get] some 30 years [behind bars],” Navalny concluded.
Upon his return to Russia, the Kremlin critic was immediately placed in custody, with the authorities replacing his suspended sentence with a real one.
Navalny had previously been found guilty of defrauding the Russian subsidiary of the French cosmetics manufacturer Yves Rocher out of millions of rubles.
The public figure, along with his brother who was a co-defendant, dismissed the case as fabricated and politically motivated.
A new court case, launched soon after Navalny’s return, revolved around an episode in which he had supposedly slandered a WWII veteran, as well as contempt of court and, most crucially, around a scheme whereby the activist had allegedly appropriated for personal use donations he had received from his supporters for his presidential campaign.
Navalny was found guilty on all counts, and has dismissed the convictions and even the accusations as absurd.
The Kremlin critic has been repeatedly placed in solitary confinement in recent months over his continued political activism, he claims.
The prison administration, in turn, accuses him of systematically violating order inside the penitentiary facility.
Back in June 2021, a court in Moscow declared Navalny’s political movement an extremist organization and banned its activities in Russia.