© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny attends a courtroom listening to in Moscow, Russia February 20, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photograph/File Photograph
By Andrew Osborn and Polina Devitt
MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia sharply escalated a marketing campaign in opposition to jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Tuesday, opening a brand new legal case in opposition to President Putin’s fiercest home critic that would permit the authorities at hand him one other decade in jail.
In a case condemned by the West, Navalny, 45, is already serving two-and-a-half years in jail for parole violations he says have been trumped as much as thwart his political ambitions.
His allies have had their properties raided, their freedom of motion restricted, or fled overseas after a courtroom in June dominated their actions to be extremist and designed to fire up social unrest.
The Kremlin and its loyalists have since mentioned they may preserve and in some instances intensify their robust method to inside and exterior critics and organisations that they view as a menace to Russia’s stability.
The brand new case, particulars of which have been revealed on the web site of Russia’s Investigative Committee, which appears to be like into main crimes, named Navalny as being suspected of founding and main an extremist group.
Such against the law carries a punishment of as much as a decade in jail.
The assertion mentioned a few of Navalny’s key allies have been suspects in the identical case and that different associates have been suspected of participating within the group’s extremist exercise.
The assertion characterised the actions of Navalny and his allies lately as legal.
“The unlawful actions of the extremist group have been geared toward discrediting state authorities and their insurance policies, destabilising the scenario within the areas, making a protest temper among the many inhabitants and making an attempt to type an opinion among the many public in regards to the want for a violent change of energy, (and) organising and holding protest actions that escalate into mass riots,” the assertion mentioned.
It accused Navalny’s allies, a lot of whom now function from overseas, of carrying on with their alleged unlawful actions after their group had been banned as extremist.
Lyubov Sobol, a Navalny allied named within the assertion, mentioned on Twitter (NYSE:) that the fees in opposition to her and the others seemed absurd.
“The crimes of my colleagues: took half in elections, investigated the corruption of prime officers and attended peaceable protests and wrote on Twitter….” she wrote sarcastically.
She mentioned the brand new case confirmed how a lot Putin feared Navalny, an allegation the Kremlin has beforehand dismissed.
Navalny was flown to Germany final 12 months for medical remedy after being poisoned in Siberia with what Western consultants concluded was the army nerve agent Novichok.
Navalny accused Putin of ordering the assault, one thing the Kremlin has denied.
Moscow has rejected the allegations and the consultants’ findings – which prompted a recent wave of sanctions in opposition to Russia – and accused the West of a smear marketing campaign in opposition to it.
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