The jailed Russian opposition figure faces 13 extra years of incarceration over fraud charges
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands inside a glass cell during a court hearing at the Babushkinsky district court in Moscow, Russia on February 20, 2021. © Sefa Karacan / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A Russian prosecutor on Tuesday asked a court to sentence opposition figure Alexey Navalny to 13 years in jail and a hefty fine for allegedly defrauding donors of his anti-corruption and political activities. He was also charged with contempt of court during a trial in a separate case.
Navalny is being tried by a Moscow court while serving a 2.8 year term under a separate sentence. The new case stems from the way his organizations used money collected through crowdfunding in Russia, which the prosecution alleges amounted to defrauding donors for personal gain.
A separate charge involves Navalny’s behavior during an earlier trial, during which he allegedly showed contempt of court by insulting the judge. The activist pleaded not guilty on all charges.
The case before the Lefortovo court in the Russian capital focuses on donations by four individuals, which in total amounted to some $24,000 at the current exchange rate. The fine that the court was asked to claim from Navalny amounts to roughly half that much.
The prosecution alleges that some of the money donated to Navalny’s organizations went to cover the personal expenses of the defendant and his associates, who currently reside outside of Russia.
It also claims there was an element of fraud in the sense that the team couldn’t legally pursue the cause for which some of the donations were being collected, namely to run Navalny’s presidential campaign in 2018. He was barred from seeking the office by a criminal sentence, which he insisted was politically motivated and could be overturned.