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President Putin’s critic Alexei Navalny sentenced to 9 years in prison

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Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been sentenced to nine years in a maximum-security jail on Tuesday 22.

The prominent Kremlin critic was convicted on fraud charges by Moscow’s Lefortovo court over allegations that he stole from his Anti-Corruption Foundation.

Navalny, 45, is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence in a detention center east of the Russian capital after being arrested in February 2021 for violating probation terms, a verdict he said was politically motivated.

After Tuesday’s sentence was announced, Navalny wrote on Twitter: “9 years. Well, as the characters of my favorite TV series ‘The Wire’ used to say: ‘You only do two days. That’s the day you go in and the day you come out.’”

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He added: “I even had a T-shirt with this slogan, but the prison authorities confiscated it, considering the print extremist.”

The Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported that Navalny, who was also fined 1.2 million rubles (roughly $11,500), will appeal the guilty verdict, according to his lawyer.

Tuesday’s sentence was handed down at the Pokrov penal colony by a visiting session of the Lefortovo court.

While Judge Margarita Kotova read out the accusations against him, Navalny appeared unmoved by the proceedings, looking through some court documents on a table in front of him.

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After the trial, Olga Mikhailova and Vadim Kobzev, two lawyers acting for the opposition leader, were driven away in a prison van, RIA reported, before they were released a short time afterwards.

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According to the news agency, the lawyers were initially taken away for failing to comply with demands to unblock the road after the court session.

Navalny was first detained in February 2021 after his arrival in Moscow from Berlin, Germany, where he had spent several months recovering from poisoning with nerve agent Novichok — an attack he blames on Russian security services and on Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.