Kremlin critic Navalny appeals jail sentence



Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Tuesday appealed a nine-year prison sentence he was handed in March on charges that he and his allies say are politically motivated.

His hearing comes as Russian authorities seek to silence remaining government critics and Moscow pushes on with its military campaign in neighbouring Ukraine, with thousands killed and some 10 million displaced.

A vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Navalny in late March had his jail time extended to nine years after he was found guilty of embezzlement and contempt of court.

He is already serving two-and-a-half years in a prison some 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Moscow for violating parole on old fraud charges. On Tuesday, Navalny joined a hearing at a Moscow court via video-link from behind bars at his prison colony to appeal the extension of his jail term.

Wearing a black prisoner uniform, Navalny asked the judge to postpone the hearing by a week so he can have a family meeting before being moved to a different colony, an AFP journalist reported. The judge said the hearing will continue today but the verdict will be announced after Navalny’s planned visit.

If his new sentence comes into force, the 45-year-old opposition politician will be transferred to a strict-regime penal colony.—APP


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