A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered the imprisonment of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny for more than two years, revoking the stay of a previous sentence, a decision followed by an appeal to protest from his supporters.
Judge Natalia Repnikova said the Kremlin critic will have to serve three and a half years in prison for his 2014 sentence, minus the months he spent that year. The opponent can always appeal.
Violation of the conditions of judicial review
According to the court, he violated the conditions of the judicial review that accompanied his sentence, as he was accused of in a request from the prison services and the prosecution. He will therefore have to spend two and a half years in detention, according to his organization, the Anti-Corruption Fund, which called for an immediate demonstration, just outside the Kremlin.
“Alexeï Navalny is sent to a colony (penitentiary) for 2.5 years. We are gathering in the center of Moscow immediately, we are waiting for you in Manege Square, ”the organization said on Twitter.
Longest prison sentence
It is the longest prison sentence imposed on the one who has established himself in ten years as the main detractor of Vladimir Putin. His previous detentions were counted in days or weeks. According to the opponent, the Russian authorities are seeking to silence him and intimidate a nascent protest movement that has seen tens of thousands of Russians demonstrate in the past two weeks.
Alexeï Navalny was sentenced to this reprieve in 2014 for embezzlement in the Russian subsidiary of the French group Yves Rocher, via a transport company that he owned with his brother Oleg. The European Court of Human Rights denounced this verdict. Mr. Navalny was arrested on January 17 and then imprisoned at least until February 15 on his return from Germany where he had been treated for five months during the consequences of a poisoning of which he accuses the Kremlin.
He has since called for protests which, despite being banned, brought together tens of thousands of people in Russia on January 23 and 31. Thousands of protesters have been arrested each time. Before the judgment Tuesday, the Russian police, equipped with anti-riot means, were also deployed in large numbers in the center of the Russian capital, according to AFP journalists.
The repression of demonstrations and the imprisonment of Mr. Navalny have also been strongly denounced in the West, with the EU and the United States calling for his immediate release.
London demanded through its official channels the “immediate and unconditional release” of the opponent, denouncing the “perverse” decision of the Russian justice to imprison him for more than two years.
“The UK calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Alexei Navalny and all peaceful protesters and journalists arrested over the past two weeks,” British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a statement, saying the decision “Perverse” of Russian justice shows that the country does not fulfill the “most basic commitments expected from any responsible member of the international community.”
US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken also spoke: “While working with Russia to defend the interests of the United States, we will coordinate closely with our allies and partners to hold Russia to account for no not having respected the rights of its citizens ”.
Finally, Boris Johnson posted a message on his Twitter account.
The poisoning of Alexey @Navalny shocked the world. The UK stands in solidarity with him & his family. We need a full, transparent investigation into what happened. The perpetrators must be held accountable & the UK will join international efforts to ensure justice is done.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 26, 2020
The Kremlin denounced interference in its internal affairs, calling the opponent a crook.