Kremlin Critic Navalny Sentenced to 19-Years for Extremism

Published: 07 August 2023

Navalny Court LinkAlexi Navalny gets another 19 years in jail, under charges of extremism. (Photo: Команда Навального/Team Navalny/Twitter, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

A court in Moscow sentenced the incarcerated Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to an additional 19 years in prison, this time for extremism and Nazism, the Russian independent human rights watchdog OVD-Info reported on Friday.

Before the trial, during which the prosecution sought a 20-year jail term, Navalny was given 10 days to acquaint himself with 196 volumes of the criminal case.

The Kremlin fiercest critic, who is already serving an 11-and-a-half-year term for fraud in the Melekhovo special regime penal colony, has been found guilty of various offenses, including "organizing an extremist group, incitement to extremism, financing of extremism, involvement of minors in committing dangerous actions, the creation of a nonprofit organization that infringes on the rights of citizens, and the rehabilitation of Nazism."

Less than a month ago, Navalny described the latest torment he had to endure during his nearly 930 days in prison. He has been forced to listen to Vladimir Putin's speeches. When he asked the guards why, they told him that it was part of his educational assignment, and he would be listening to the Russian President's annual speech until the end of the year.

Russian authorities detained Navalny in January 2021 upon his return from Berlin, where he received treatment in a hospital after a poisoning attack in Russia. A month later, he was found guilty by Moscow's Simonovsky District Court of breaking the conditions of his 2014 suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case, resulting in a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence. A year later, he received an additional nine-year prison sentence on fraud charges.

In its ruthless crackdown on regime dissidents in Moscow, Russian authorities upheld journalist Ivan Safronov's 22-year jail term for treason earlier this week, as Safronov's supporters announced.

In September of the previous year, a Moscow court sentenced former journalist Safronov to 22 years in jail for "treason in favor of the Czech and German intelligence services," marking the country's first journalist treason conviction since 2001.

Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) investigators claimed that Safronov, as a journalist, gathered information about the country's military capabilities and Russian forces' operations in Syria, receiving tens of thousands of euros from Czech and German customers in return.

Before leaving the media in 2020 to work as an adviser to the director of Russia's State Space Corporation Roscosmos, Safronov served as a special correspondent for Kommersant and Vedomosti news outlets.