Hundreds detained in protests as Kremlin critic Navalny jailed
Russian police detained hundreds of Alexey Navalny’s supporters during protests outside the court in Moscow that sentenced the Kremlin critic to almost three years in jail over alleged parole violations.
The Simonovsky District Court on Tuesday ruled that Navalny had violated the probation conditions of a suspended sentence from a 2014 money laundering conviction, which Navalny has said was politically motivated.
He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, a term that was shortened to two years and eight months by taking into account time already served under house arrest.
His lawyer said his team plans to appeal.
Russian police detained more than 900 people at protests in support of Navalny, the OVD-Info protest monitoring group said.
Riot police were deployed in large numbers outside the court after Navalny’s allies called on supporters to gather in support.
The court said that Navalny, who gained prominence with his exposes of corruption among Russia’s political elite, violated the terms of his probation when he was airlifted to Germany for treatment after being poisoned with a nerve agent.
The decision is likely to fuel more demonstrations in support of Navalny across the country and widen a rift between Russia and Western powers demanding the 44-year-old’s release.
Navalny was arrested on January 17 when he returned to Moscow from Berlin, where he spent five months recovering from an alleged poisoning that almost killed him. He blames the alleged attack on the Kremlin, an accusation Russian authorities have rejected.
Speaking from a glass cage in the courtroom during his hearing, Navalny attributed his arrest to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “fear and hatred”, saying the Russian leader would go down in history as a “poisoner”.