The Russian court rejects Navalny’s appeal against the 2nd prison sentence

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court on Tuesday rejected jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s second appeal against his nine-year sentence.

The 46-year-old dissident is serving the sentence imposed on him in March, on charges of fraud and contempt of court, in a high-security prison.

Navalny, the fiercest enemy of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arrested in January 2021 after returning from Germany, where he was recovering from nerve agent poisoning blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities deny the allegations. He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for a parole violation that West called politically motivated.

In March, he was sentenced to nine years in a separate case on charges of embezzling money he and his foundation raised over the years and insulting a judge during a previous trial. Navalny dismissed the charges as politically motivated. His first appeal was rejected in May.

Navalny’s arrest last year sparked the biggest protests in Russia in recent years. In response, Putin’s government launched an all-out crackdown on his organization, associates and supporters.

Several criminal cases have been brought against Navalny individually, leading his aides to suggest that the Kremlin intends to keep him behind bars indefinitely.

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