The EU’s foreign policy chief criticized an extra nine years for Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny as ‘politically motivated’.
The United States and the European Union have issued a new conviction for jailing Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, calling it a “sham” and another example of Russia expanding its repression. to dissenting voices in this country scene Invasion of Ukraine.
A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced Navalny received an additional nine years in maximum security prison for fraud and contempt of court charges, as well as a fine of 1.2 million rubles ($11,500).
“The court’s forgery ruling is the latest in a series of attempts to silence Navalny,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
“This disturbing decision… is yet another example of how the Russian government is expanding its crackdown on dissent and free speech, in an attempt to conceal it. The Kremlin’s Brutal Warand gratuitous war against Ukraine. ”
The EU also condemned the ruling as “politically motivated”.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said in a statement: “The European Union expresses its systematic repression of civil society, independent media, individual journalists and human rights defenders in Russia”. “We reiterate our call to the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him.”
The new verdict comes amid rising tensions between Moscow and Western nations, which have condemned and slapped a series of sanctions about Russia during the invasion of Ukraine.
It also follows a year-long crackdown by Russian President Vladimir Putin against Navalny supporters, other opposition activists and independent journalists, in which the authorities have expressed their desire to want to stop all dissidents.
Navalny’s close associates have faced criminal charges and left the country, and his team’s political infrastructure — an anti-corruption platform and network of regional offices across the country. – was destroyed after being labeled an extremist organization.
Navalny served a two-and-a-half year sentence in a penal colony east of Moscow for a pardoned violation. The new trial was held in a makeshift courtroom at the facility.
In a Facebook post by his team shortly after Tuesday’s sentencing, Navalny said: “My spaceflight took longer than expected.”
His new conviction was for embezzlement of money he and his organization had built up over the years and insulting a judge in a previous trial. Navalny, who will appeal the ruling, has dismissed the allegations as politically motivated.
Germany also rejected Tuesday’s ruling, with its foreign ministry calling it “part of the Russian justice system that systematically fights dissidents and political opposition.” .
Putin’s loudest domestic critic, 45-year-old survivor an attempt to poison him with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, which he blamed on the Kremlin. The Kremlin said it saw no evidence that Navalny was poisoned and denied any Russian involvement, if any.
Earlier this month, Navalny urge the Russians organizes daily protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has devastated Ukrainian cities and forced more than 3.5 million people to flee the country.
“I urge everyone to take to the streets and fight for peace,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook and Twitter on March 2, urging people not to fear going to jail. “If, to prevent war, we need to fill prisons and police cars, we will fill prisons and police cars.”
Thousands of people have arrest in anti-war demonstrations across Russia since the country launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Last week, Putin call for “self-purification” to remove Russia from anyone who opposes the war.
“[Russians] will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply vilify them as someone who accidentally flew into their mouths,” he said in what appeared to be a speech. a warning that his authoritarian rule could be worse. “I believe that such a natural and necessary social self-purification will only strengthen our country.”