Russia court sentences activist Alexei Navalny to 3.5 years jail for violating parole News
© WikiMedia (Evgeny Feldman / Novaya Gazeta)
Russia court sentences activist Alexei Navalny to 3.5 years jail for violating parole

A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced political activist Alexei Navalny to three and a half years in prison for violating his probation conditions. In its decision, the court reasoned that Navalny would need to serve two years and eight months of the sentence because he had already served one year of his sentence under house arrest in 2014.

The Russian Penitentiary Service said that Navalny had failed to report to his probation officer between August 2020 and January 2021. In August Navalny suffered a chemical nerve agent attack and was transported to Germany for emergency medical care where he remained in a coma for several weeks. Navalny maintains his innocence and has accused Russian authorities of poisoning him. After five months of recovery, Navalny returned to Russia where he was detained and arrested by Russian authorities at the border. Navalny has remained in police custody ever since.

During the hearing, Navalny stated that he was innocent and condemned Russia’s corrupt political climate and legal system. “I would like everyone to remember that the essence of this trial is to lock me up over a case in which I was already exonerated—a case that’s already been recognized as fabricated.” He continued:

Let’s do a little math. The verdict was in 2014, it’s 2021 now, and I’m still being prosecuted for this. … The explanation is one man’s hatred and fear—one man hiding in a bunker. I mortally offended him by surviving. I survived thanks to good people, thanks to pilots and doctors. And then I committed an even more serious offense: I didn’t run and hide. Then something truly terrifying happened: I participated in the investigation of my own poisoning, and we proved, in fact, that Putin, using Russia’s Federal Security Service, was responsible for this attempted murder.

The ruling has spurred nationwide demonstrations and condemnation from activists worldwide as the police continue their crackdown upon protesters. If Navalny serves a full sentence, he is expected to be behind bars until September 2023.