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Navalny jailed for three-and-half years

03 Feb 2021 12:28, Somoy English Desk
Navalny jailed for three-and-half years
Navalny jailed for three-and-half years

A Moscow court sentenced opposition figure Alexei Navalny to serve a three-and-a-half-year jail term, despite international calls to release him and mass protests in his support across the country. 

With time already spent in detention he will spend another two years and eight months behind bars.

The crucial court hearing on Tuesday considered whether Navalny violated parole for the suspended three-and-a-half-year sentence for fraud he received in 2014, as alleged by Moscow's prison service.

According to the prosecutors who urged for the suspended sentence to be turned into jail time, Navalny violated the conditions of his sentence when he failed to report to his parole officer while he was in Germany recovering after being poisoned with the nerve agent novichok. 

The poisoning has been blamed on the Kremlin, something Russia's government has denied, reports CGTN.
 
Navalny claimed the accusations of alleged parole violations are politically motivated and the goal of the court case was to scare the Kremlin's opponents. "They are putting one person behind bars to scare millions," he said during a fiery speech at the Moscow courtroom, as reported by AFP.

He also said he had sent the documentation to Moscow's prison service to notify it of his new location in Germany.
 
Navalny, a harsh critic of Russia's President Vladimir Putin, has been detained since mid-January after his return to Russia from Germany, where he was recovering from the novichok poisoning. He followed his trial in the courtroom on Tuesday from a glass cage.

Mass protests against president Putin have been conducted across Russia over the past two weekends despite freezing temperatures and have been violently repressed by the state's riot police, which on Sunday arrested a record number of demonstrators – more than 5,400 people according to reports by OVD-Info.

 

Around 280 people including journalists were arrested today while protesting in front of the court, OVD-Info reports.

Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, was also in the courtroom after she received a $265 (20,000 rubles) fine for protesting to demand his release on Monday.

The detention of Navalny has built up new tensions between Russia and the U.S., with the Biden administration considering new sanctions on Russia.

Condemnation of the mass detention of protesters and the arrest of Navalny has also come from European leaders and the European Union - the bloc's foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell is expected to reiterate its displeasure during his visit to Moscow in a week.

France has urged Germany to take some action against the Kremlin by scrapping the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russia.

The Russian government has always rejected Navalny's accusation that it was responsible for his poisoning. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday he hoped the Navalny "nonsense" won't affect Russia's ties with the EU.

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