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Aleksei Navalny Found Guilty of Fraud by Russian Court

A Russian courtroom sentenced the imprisoned opposition chief Aleksei A. Navalny to 9 years in a high-security jail on Tuesday and ordered him to pay a nice of about $11,500.

The trial was held in a makeshift courtroom on the jail exterior Moscow the place Mr. Navalny has been held for greater than a yr.

“Navalny dedicated fraud, that’s, the theft of different folks’s property via deceit and breach of belief,” the choose, Margarita Kotova, mentioned in studying her verdict, in response to the information company Interfax.

Prosecutors claimed that Mr. Navalny and his former Anti-Corruption Basis — which the Russian authorities banned as extremist final yr — had embezzled folks’s donations.

The decision, nevertheless, was broadly seen as a transfer by the Kremlin to maintain Mr. Navalny behind bars past the expiration in 2023 of his present two-and-a-half-year jail time period, ostensibly for violating the phrases of his parole.

For President Vladimir V. Putin, the conflict in opposition to Ukraine has made the fiery opposition chief much more of a legal responsibility. Mr. Navalny has been urging Russians, by way of letters from jail that his attorneys publish to social media, to protest the invasion.

“It’s each particular person’s responsibility to combat in opposition to this conflict,” Mr. Navalny mentioned in a courtroom speech final week. The conflict, he mentioned, was began by a “group of loopy outdated males who don’t perceive something and don’t need to perceive something.”

Even with Mr. Navalny in jail, his aides exterior Russia have been calling for protests in opposition to the conflict and persevering with to publish their trademark corruption investigations on YouTube. On Monday, the group launched a video that provided proof that Mr. Putin was hiding a $700 million yacht at a dock in Italy.

Another video from the group mentioned that in Mr. Navalny’s trial final week, Choose Kotova had acquired a number of cellphone calls from a quantity that researchers traced to the top of public relations for the presidential administration.

“The case was completely fabricated by particular folks,” Ivan Zhdanov, the previous head of Mr. Navalny’s basis, says within the video. “This verdict is being written by Putin’s officers.”

Choose Kotova has not commented on the allegations, however she was promoted to a extra senior judicial place final week, the state information company RIA Novosti reported.

Mr. Navalny’s backers generally say that the precise size of his jail time period issues little, as a result of they anticipate Mr. Putin’s system to break down within the coming years.

However for the second, Mr. Putin has the higher hand. The Kremlin has pressured Mr. Navalny’s community of supporters into exile and, in current weeks, blocked entry to Instagram and Fb, and cracked down additional on the unbiased media — making it ever tougher for Mr. Navalny to speak with the Russian public.

There’s substantial proof that the Russian authorities was liable for the poisoning that just about killed Mr. Navalny in August 2020, and with the world’s consideration on Ukraine, Mr. Navalny’s supporters worry that his life is in peril once more.

The newest verdict may permit the Russian authorities to maneuver Mr. Navalny to a higher-security jail farther from Moscow, making it tougher for his attorneys and household to go to him.

“With out public safety, Aleksei can be nose to nose with those that have already tried to kill him,” his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, posted on Twitter on Monday. “And nothing will cease them from making an attempt once more. Subsequently, we are actually speaking not solely about Aleksei’s freedom, but additionally about his life.”

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