Navalny says he faces new charges that carry 15 years in prison
Jailed Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny on Tuesday said he faces new charges that could add 15 years to what is already a near-decade sentence delivered by a Russian court.
Western governments have widely condemned his arrest and sentence.
In a Twitter thread posted on his account, Navalny said that he was formally charged with a new case accusing him of creating an extremist group with the purpose of inciting hatred toward “officials and oligarchs.”
This comes on top of a Russian court upholding last week a nine-year sentence against Navalny on charges of fraud and contempt of court. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell have condemned the action of the courts.
Navalny, who communicates from jail through his lawyers, who pass on his messages to staff, posted on Twitter that “not even eight days have passed since my 9-year high-security sentence came into force, and today the investigator showed up again and formally charged me with a new case.”
“It turns out that I created an extremist group in order to incite hatred towards officials and oligarchs. And when they put me in jail, I dared to be disgruntled about it (silly me) and called for rallies,” reads Navalny’s tweet. “For that, they’re supposed to add up to 15 more years to my sentence.”
Navalny is a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and in August 2020 survived an assassination attempt allegedly carried out by Russian security forces at the direction of the Kremlin. An investigation by the German government determined that Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, considered Putin’s signature chemical weapon.
Navalny returned to Russia a year after his poisoning and was arrested by Russian authorities in Moscow and sentenced to two and a half years in prison, with the charges that he violated his parole by leaving the country for treatment widely condemned by international governments.
He has continued to speak out from jail in opposing Putin’s government, with a large part of his message focused on exposing Kremlin corruption and graft. Navalny and his staff have called on Russians to oppose Putin’s war in Ukraine and for foreign governments to sanction thousands of Russian officials who support the war.