Russia seeking 13-year prison sentence for Putin critic Navalny

Russia is seeking a 13-year prison sentence for prominent Putin critic Alexei Navalny in an effort to keep him in prison as long as possible.

Navalny faces charges of fraud and contempt of court and is accused of embezzling funds raised by him and his foundation. The opposition leader has said these claims are politically motivated, according to The Associated Press

During Tuesday’s closing arguments, the prosecution asked for a sentence of 13 years in maximum security prison and a fine of 1.2 million rubles, or about $10,700, the AP reported. 

Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s top supporter who has left Russia due to multiple criminal cases of his own, said in a social media post that authorities would like to see the Putin critic in prison “until the end of life of one of the two people — Navalny himself or Vladimir Putin,” according to the wire service.

Navalny is already serving a 2 1/2-year sentence, but it was not clear if his next sentence would be served concurrently with the previous one. 

Navalny was imprisoned last year after returning to Russia from Germany, where he was receiving treatment after being poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok in August 2020.

While the Kremlin has denied involvement with his poisoning, the U.S. and other nations have blamed Russia for the incident.

More recently, Navalny has called upon Russian people to protest the unprovoked attack amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“Let’s at least not become a nation of frightened silent people. Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane tsar,” he said of Putin in a statement earlier this month published to his Twitter.

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