Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny sentenced to 19 years in prison

August 4, 2023

A Russian court on Friday convicted imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny on charges of extremism, sentencing him to 19 years in prison.

This was the fifth criminal trial for Navalny, who is already serving combined sentences of 11.5 years amid what his supporters call the Kremlin’s attempts to silence opposition against the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

In April, Navalny said he’d suspected a mysterious illness that he was suffering was linked to slow-action poisoning in the food he was served in the penal colony where he’s imprisoned.

In court Friday, Navalny, wearing prison garb, reportedly looked gaunt. He stood alongside his attorneys and a co-defendant with his arms crossed. 

The new charges are related to Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation and statements by his top associates. 

It took the judge less than 10 minutes to announce the verdict and the sentence.

The now-47-year-old Navalny was arrested in January 2021 upon a return to Russia from Germany—where he had just spent five months being treated for a poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin.

The United Nations denounced the latest verdict against Russian opposition leader, with U.N. rights chief Volker Turk saying in a statement, “The new sentence imposed today on opposition figure Alexei Navalny raises renewed serious concerns about judicial harassment and instrumentalization of the court system for political purposes in Russia.”

PHOTO: Alexei Navalny in 2011

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