MOSCOW — A Russian court docket jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Tuesday, ignoring the West in a ruling the opposition politician blamed on President Vladimir Putin’s private hatred and worry of him.
The Moscow court docket handed Navalny a three-and-a-half-year sentence, however his lawyer stated the anti-corruption blogger would truly serve two years and eight months in jail due to time already spent underneath home arrest.
His attorneys stated they might enchantment.
The determination, which adopted nationwide protests calling for Navalny’s launch, will additional pressure relations with the West, which is contemplating imposing sanctions on Russia over its dealing with of the case.
The United States, Britain, Germany, and the EU urged Moscow to instantly free Navalny, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Washington would coordinate intently with allies to carry Russia accountable.
Russia is already underneath quite a few Western sanctions, nevertheless, and analysts say the West’s choices for extra strain are restricted. A Navalny ally had urged the West earlier than the listening to to hit Putin’s inside circle with private sanctions.
Russia has urged that Navalny is a CIA asset, a cost he rejects, and has informed the West to remain out of its home affairs.
Navalny, one in all Putin’s most outstanding critics, was arrested on January 17 for alleged parole violations after coming back from Germany the place he had been recovering from being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent.
Navalny stated Russian state safety brokers had put the poison in his underpants, one thing the Kremlin denied. He used Tuesday’s listening to to attempt to body Putin’s place in historical past.
“(Putin’s) only method is killing people. However much he pretends to be a great geo-politician, he’ll go down in history as a poisoner. There was Alexander the Liberator, Yaroslav the Wise, and Putin the Underwear Poisoner,” stated Navalny.
His supporters, on listening to the ruling, inspired folks to assemble in central Moscow although riot police had already taken up place. The Moscow metro shut down three central stations.
Reuters reporters noticed lots of of protesters and the police detain a few of them violently. Some of them chanted, “Putin is a thief!” and “Putin is a poisoner!”
Outside the court docket earlier on Tuesday, Reuters reporters noticed riot police detain round 70 of Navalny’s supporters. The OVD-Info monitoring group later reported 1,408 arrests nationwide, over 1,000 of these in Moscow.
After his arrest, Navalny launched a YouTube video making allegations about Putin’s wealth that was seen over 100 million occasions. The Kremlin stated it was false.
Tuesday’s listening to targeted on Navalny’s alleged parole violations over a suspended sentence in a 2014 embezzlement case Navalny says was trumped up.
Navalny, in a fiery speech to the court docket, alleged he was going to be jailed due to Putin’s considerations about him as a political rival, a suggestion the Kremlin has laughed off, referring to Navalny as a marginal determine with out large standard help.
Putin, 68, has dominated Russian politics since 2000 and will rule till 2036 underneath constitutional modifications authorized in a referendum final yr.
“Someone did not want me to take a single step on my country’s territory as a free man. And we know who and we know why – the hatred and fear of one man, living in a bunker, whom I offended by surviving when he tried to have me killed,” Navalny, 44, informed the court docket from inside a glass cage.
After the decision was learn out, Yulia, his spouse, eliminated the masks she was carrying due to the coronavirus pandemic and waved to her husband earlier than giving him a shrug. Navalny shouted: “Don’t worry. Everything will be ok.”
Putin, who the Kremlin stated was not following the Navalny listening to as a result of he was busy with political affairs, stated in December that stories the Russian state had poisoned Navalny have been a part of a U.S.-backed plot to attempt to discredit him.
Putin stated Moscow would have completed the job if it had needed Navalny useless.
Tuesday’s listening to was the results of a request from Moscow’s state jail authority which has accused Navalny of violating the phrases of a suspended three-and-a-half-year jail sentence for embezzlement.
Navalny stated the conviction, which was criticized by the European Court of Human Rights on the time, was politically motivated.
A jail service consultant informed the court docket that Navalny had violated public order many occasions since being handed the suspended sentence and had systematically didn’t report in.
Navalny informed the court docket he had been unable to report back to the jail service on the finish of final yr as a result of he was recovering in Germany from being poisoned. The jail service stated its complaints pre-dated his poisoning and that Navalny had in any case been properly sufficient to fulfill journalists after being discharged from a Berlin hospital in September.
Navalny, already serving a 30-day detention sentence in reference to the identical case, informed the court docket: “On what grounds are you saying you didn’t know where I was? You’re misleading the court.”
Supporters have staged two straight weekends of nationwide protests demanding he be freed, regardless of an enormous present of police drive, the specter of arrest, bitter chilly, and the pandemic.
While the set off for these protests was Navalny’s arrest, some protesters say they’ve additionally taken to the streets to vent their frustration over declining residing requirements.
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