A Moscow appeals court on Saturday upheld a sentence against the Kremlin’s chief critic Alexei Navalny after he returned to Russia from Germany last month.
Judge Dmitry Balashov dismissed Navalny’s appeal against the February 2 ruling converting a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement into real prison.
The judge decided to count six weeks that Navalny was under house arrest as part of the time served and will now be detained in a penal colony for a little over two and a half years.
Navalny, a 44-year-old anti-corruption activist who has emerged as the most prominent opponent of President Vladimir Putin, was arrested in January when he was returning to Russia after months in Germany to recover from nerve agent poisoning he said Accuses Kremlin.
He was jailed for violating the 2014 suspended sentence and subsequently commuted to prison.
Navalny and his supporters say the verdicts and several other cases against him are an excuse to silence his corruption exposures and suppress his political ambitions.
He was tried again later on Saturday in yet another trial accusing him of defamation of calling a World War II veteran a “traitor” after appearing on pro-Kremlin video.
Prosecutors have requested that Navalny be fined the equivalent of US $ 13,000 in this case. They also want his 2014 sentence to be commuted to real prison terms for alleged defamation taking place while he was serving his suspended sentence.
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