On Friday, Alexei Navalny , a Russian opposition politician who is currently in prison for a crime he has been charged with, had 19 more years added to his sentence. He and his supporters claimed that the criminal case was made up to keep him behind bar and away from politics.
Navalny is 47 and the fiercest critic of President Vladimir Putin in Russia. He has already served 11-1/2 years for fraud, among other charges he claims are false. His political group has been declared an “extremist” and outlawed.
On Friday, a court in the IK-6 penal colonies in Melekhovo (about 145 miles east from Moscow) where he was serving his sentence, tried him for six criminal charges including inciting extremist activities, financing them, and creating extremist organisations.
The audio feed was so bad that it was almost impossible to understand what the judge said.
Navalny’s team stated that the judge added 19 years to Navalny’s sentences due to the new charges. The state prosecutors asked the court for another 20 years of imprisonment in a penal colony.
Navalny, dressed in his prison uniform of dark blue and flanked with his lawyers, smiled occasionally as he listened the judge.
Navalny predicted in a social media message a day before that he would receive a long prison term. However, he said it did not really matter as he had also been threatened with separate charges of terrorism which could add another decade to his sentence.
Navalny said that the extra prison time he was given was meant to scare Russians. He urged Russians to not let this happen, and to consider how to best resist the “villains” and “thieves in the Kremlin.”
The charges are related to his role within his now-defunct Russian movement, which authorities claim was trying to foment revolutions by destabilising the socio-political environment.