A court in Moscow rejected the appeal of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny. He was sentenced to a three-and-a-half year stay in a penal camp.
His detention is subtracted from that, and the judge also took six weeks off. That means Navalny gets over two and a half years.
“ You take another month and a half off, fantastic”, was Navalny‘s reaction. He also said that he still believes that Russia will one day be a free country.
Navalny will be transferred to a penal colony in a week, says correspondent Iris de Graaf. As a result, he cannot appeal in a lawsuit about insulting a war veteran, who was discussed later today. In that case, he was convicted of slander. He has to pay a fine of 850,000 rubles, converted to some 9500 euros.
In the appeal case, Navalny was found guilty of non-compliance with the terms of the suspended sentence in 2014, when the opposition leader was convicted of embezzling half a million dollars in the so-called Yves Rocher case. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the fraud process was not fair. Navalny said it was a political process.
The conviction in 2014 was on probation. One of the conditions was for him to report regularly to the authorities. He didn’t do that when he was staying in Germany last year, to recover from an attempted poisoning, almost certainly by a Russian secret service. After returning from Germany, in January, he was arrested.
According to the judge, he was already discharged from the hospital and he could have checked in.
The fact that Navalny disappears behind bars for a long time is convenient for the Kremlin; the opposition has lost its leader for the time being. Over the past few weeks, Navalny has proved to be able to get tens of thousands of people on the streets across the country. Police intervened hard, more than 10,000 people were arrested. Navalny faithful want to take the streets again in the spring.
For years, the Kremlin refused to pronounce the name Navalny. Meanwhile, he is placed in the Russian media as a “foreign agent” deployed by the West to cause chaos in Russia.