A Russian court reportedly sentenced imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to an additional nine years in prison for fraud charges.
On Tuesday, Navalny was convicted of embezzling from his Anti-Corruption Foundation and contempt of court charges, according to Russian state media Tass. The sentencing comes on top of a two-and-a-half-year remaining sentence he is currently serving.
PUTIN CRITIC ALEXEI NAVALNY FOUND GUILTY OF FRAUD, FACES 13 YEARS IN PRISON
"I want to say: the best support for me and other political prisoners is not sympathy and kind words, but actions. Any activity against the deceitful and thievish Putin regime. Any opposition to these war criminals," Navalny tweeted after the sentencing. "In 2013, after hearing my first verdict, I wrote this and now I will repeat it: don't be idle. This toad sitting on an oil pipe will not overthrow itself."
Moscow's Lefortovsky District Court Judge Margarita Kotova ruled that he must serve his time in a high-security penitentiary and also fined him 1.2 million rubles, or $11,500, according to Interfax. His lawyers have vowed to appeal the sentencing.
Navalny's trial has been accused by Western governments and human rights groups of being politically motivated, something the Kremlin denies. Both the United States and the European Union slapped sanctions on Russia following Navalny's detainment last year. In January, the EU renewed its calls for Navalny's "immediate and unconditional release without further delay."
The contempt of court charge was announced against him in February. He was accused of insulting a judge during a prior trial. Prosecutors alleged that he embezzled over $4 million from his Anti-Corruption Foundation, which Russian authorities banned as extremist last year. The foundation conducted investigations and levied public allegations of corruption against Putin and some of his allies. Navalny was added to Russia's "extremist and terrorist" list in January 2022.
Navalny is the head of the Russia of the Future Party, which opposes the ruling United Russia Party, and Putin, who is an independent.
In August 2020, Navalny became severely ill, and doctors quickly concluded that he had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. He was swiftly moved to Germany where he received treatment. His poisoning drew international outrage. The U.S. and the EU accused the Kremlin of orchestrating his poisoning to eliminate a top domestic Putin foe.
Upon his return to Russia in January 2021, authorities detained him for violating parole for his 2014 conviction. They claimed he failed to check in with Russian authorities twice a month during his illness. As a result, he was held in prison to serve out his remaining sentencing, which is currently about 2.5 years.
Last April, his allies claimed he became dangerously ill while on a hunger strike over his treatment in prison. Authorities eventually met some of his demands, and he ended the strike.
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Recently, Navalny has been fiercely critical of Russia's bloody war in Ukraine. In a lengthy Instagram post earlier this month, he called for massive protests within Russia against the war. Putin publicly decried such Russians opposed to the war and in favor of the West as "scum and traitors" in a scathing speech last week.
"The anti-war momentum will keep growing across the society, so the anti-war protests should not be halted under any circumstances," he tweeted. "Our team continues to support the anti-Putin resistance inside Russia. Every day we inform the citizens of Russia about the course of the war and its true causes through uncensored media channels."