A Russian court found a supporter of opposition activist Alexey Navalny guilty of “participation in an extremist community” and sentenced him to 9 years in prison on Monday.
Vadim Ostanin was a member of Team Navalny, an activist organization associated with the Russian opposition firebrand who is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence. Team Navalny announced Ostanin’s sentence on their Twitter page. They say that Russian authorities targeted Ostanin due to his anti-corruption work as a former coordinator for the organization in the cities of Biysk and Barnaul. Ostanin has been kept in pre-trial detention since December 2021, where he says he experienced poor living conditions and intimidation from investigators. He also claims authorities have deprived him of healthcare and family visits.
“Participation in an extremist community” is illegal under Article 282.1, part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code.
A month before Monday’s decision on the Ostanin case, another Navalny associate received 7-and-a-half years of jail time for “creating an extremist organization.” At least eight other Navalny associates have been investigated by authorities as well.
Alexei Navalny himself is facing up to 20 years in prison for his activities as a Putin critic and anti-corruption movement leader. Navalny’s headquarters, his Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) and the Fund for the Protection of Citizen’s Rights (FZPG) were all found to be extremist organizations by the Moscow City Court after an investigation initiated by Russia’s Investigative Committee. However, the Moscow City Court classified the case materials for the bans, citing “state secrets.”