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Navalny prosecutors seek three-and-a-half-year jail term | Alexei Navalny

Russian state prosecutors are poised to jail the opposition chief Alexei Navalny for three-and-a-half years, with the Kremlin shrugging off US complaints about his case on Monday forward of an important court docket listening to on Tuesday.

Navalny – who was jailed after flying again to Moscow final month – faces the prospect of a prolonged spell behind bars. Vladimir Putin’s press spokesman, Dmitry Peskov mentioned Moscow would ignore statements from the Biden administration, following Sunday’s mass pro-Navalny protests.

After demonstrators took to the streets in 90 cities and cities throughout the nation riot police responded with a serious present of power. They made a document variety of arrests, detaining 5,300 folks, together with Navalny’s spouse, Yulia, who was seized in north-east Moscow.

The Kremlin’s obvious technique is to robust out rising avenue protests, that are prone to proceed on Tuesday when Navalny seems in court docket. Moscow’s jail service has demanded a three-and-a-half yr sentence for alleged parole violations.

Navalny says the costs are pretend and politically motivated. He’s accused of failing to satisfy his parole officer whereas he was in Germany recovering from novichok poisoning. Navalny alleges Putin authorised a bungled FSB spy company operation final August to kill him in Siberia.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has condemned Moscow’s heavy-handed techniques towards peaceable protesters and journalists and has known as for Navalny to be let loose. “We’re deeply disturbed by this violent crackdown towards folks exercising their rights to protest peacefully towards their authorities,” he mentioned.

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Who’s Alexei Navalny?

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Born in 1976 simply exterior Moscow, Alexei Navalny is a lawyer-turned-campaigner whose Anti-Corruption Foundation investigates the wealth of Vladimir Putin’s internal circle. 

He began out as a Russian nationalist, however emerged as the principle chief of Russia’s democratic opposition in the course of the wave of protests that led as much as the 2012 presidential election, and has since been a thorn within the Kremlin’s facet. 

Navalny is barred from showing on state tv, however has used social media to his benefit. A 2017 documentary accusing the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, of corruption acquired greater than 30m views on YouTube inside two months. 

He has been repeatedly arrested and jailed. The European court docket of human rights dominated that Russia violated Navalny’s rights by holding him below home arrest in 2014. Election officers barred him from operating for president in 2018 resulting from an embezzlement conviction that he claims was politically motivated. Navalny advised the fee its choice could be a vote ‘not towards me, however towards 16,000 individuals who have nominated me; towards 200,000 volunteers who’ve been canvassing for me’. 

There has additionally been a bodily worth to pay. In April 2017, he was attacked with inexperienced dye that just about blinded him in a single eye, and in July 2019 he was taken from jail to hospital with signs that one in all his docs mentioned might point out poisoning. In 2020, he was once more hospitalised after a suspected poisoning, and brought to Germany for therapy. The German authorities later mentioned toxicology outcomes confirmed Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

{Photograph}: Pavel Golovkin/AP

Blinken mentioned frustration with official corruption and rising autocracy had pushed well-liked protests: “I believe they [Kremlin officials] have to look inward, not outward … Mr Navalny is giving expression to the voices of tens of millions and tens of millions of Russians. And that’s what that is about.”

The White Home was reviewing whether or not to impose additional sanctions within the wake of Moscow’s “deeply disturbing” actions, Blinken mentioned. These included the current SolarWinds cyber-hack on US federal establishments, and claims Russia was providing bounty funds to Taliban fighters to kill American troopers in Afghanistan.

Talking on Monday, Peskov warned towards recent sanctions. “We’re not ready to simply accept or heed American statements about this,” he mentioned. He described the pro-Navalny protests as unlawful. “There might be no dialog with hooligans and provocateurs, the regulation ought to be utilized with the utmost severity,” he advised reporters.

Navalny’s allies have launched an inventory of Putin-linked oligarchs and officers and known as on the west to sanction them. To date, nonetheless, neither Boris Johnson nor Joe Biden have taken motion. Biden and Putin spoke by cellphone final week for the primary time because the president’s inauguration.

Navalny, 44, is serving a 30-day stint in jail. His spouse Yulia appeared at Shcherbinsky court docket in Moscow on Monday and was fined 20,000 roubles for participating in what the authorities say was an unsanctioned protest. Her lawyer, Svetlana Davydova, mentioned she would enchantment.

Moscow’s detention centres are overflowing, with 1800 folks arrested within the capital final weekend, Novaya Gazeta reported on Monday. Some protesters have been stored for days in police wagons, with others transferred to a detention centre for migrants, the paper mentioned.

Pavel Chikov, a lawyer and rights advocate, mentioned police had opened 40 legal instances in 18 totally different areas associated to the 2 weekends of rallies. Navalny has known as on his supporters to collect exterior the Moscow court docket throughout his listening to on Tuesday, which the authorities are sure to characterise as an unlawful protest.

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