Russian court jails Alexey Navalny over parole violations

Russian court jails Alexey Navalny over parole violations

The Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison by a Moscow court, just two weeks after he returned to his home country following an attempt on his life in August.

Navalny's jailing triggered massive protests across Russian Federation for the past two weekends, with tens of thousands taking to the streets to demand his release and chant slogans against Putin.

The suspended sentence is from an embezzlement trial in 2014 against Navalny that was found by the European Court of Human Rights to be political.

The 44-year-old anti-corruption investigator stands accused of violating the probation conditions of a 2014 money-laundering conviction that he says was a politically motivated fabrication.

"A Russian citizen sentenced by Russian court in accordance with Russian laws".

He was accused of violating parole conditions by refusing to check in with prison officials and was arrested when he flew back to Moscow on January 17 from Germany, where he spent months recovering from the poisoning. There is worldwide consensus that Russian security forces were behind the poisoning, though the Kremlin vehemently denies the allegations.

As the judge read out her verdict, Mr. Navalny drew a heart on the inside of his glass cage and smiled at his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, who was in the courtroom as a spectator after being repeatedly detained during the recent protests. "You're misleading the court". "You had my address and telephone number". "What else could I have done?"

"The President of our country said live on air he let me go to get treatment in Germany and you didn't know that too?"

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An investigation by the Bellingcat website found that Mr. Navalny was trailed by a team of operatives from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) - including poison and chemical weapon specialists - for at least three years before the August attack, beginning shortly after Mr. Navalny announced that he meant to challenge Mr. Putin for the presidency. "The explanation is one man's hatred and fear - one man hiding in a bunker".

"I have deeply offended him simply by surviving the assassination attempt that he ordered", he said.

When a prosecutor tried to object, Navalny snapped back: "I don't need your objections".

Navalny used Tuesday's hearing to try to frame Putin's place in history. "There was Alexander the Liberator, Yaroslav the Wise, and Putin the Underwear Poisoner", said Navalny.

Navalny's lawyers argue that he could not register with Russian authorities in person as stipulated, because he was recovering in Germany. Reacting to the investigation at the time, Putin didn't dispute any details of the findings but essentially confirmed that FSB agents did indeed trail Navalny.

Outside the court, riot police in full battle gear had secured a wide perimeter.

Protesters were also detained in St. Petersburg. And then I committed an even more serious offense: "I didn't run and hide", Navalny told the court.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that Russian Federation is ready for dialogue about Navalny, but sternly warned that it wouldn't take Western criticism into account. The Kremlin has suggested that Navalny works for US intelligence and has branded the Anti-Corruption Foundation a "foreign agent". They are afraid of losing their job, of getting imprisoned.

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