He faces ten additional years in prison in this case. Russian opponent Alexei Navalny is on trial from Tuesday in his prison in Pokrov, east of Moscow (Russia).
In this trial, the investigators accuse Alexei Navalny of having embezzled more than 4.7 million dollars in donations which were paid to his organizations.
The 45-year-old Russian opponent also faces up to six months in prison for contempt of court during one of his hearings last year.
Back in court, Alexei Navalny, who survived serious poisoning in 2020, appeared in a courtroom dressed in a prisoner’s outfit with shaved hair, alongside his lawyers and surrounded by several guards.
Alexei Navalny has already been sentenced to two and a half years of deprivation of liberty in February 2021 in a case of “fraud” which he considers political and fabricated. A sentence he is currently serving.
It is from penal colony number 2 in Pokrov that this trial is being held, which opened on Tuesday, an exceptional measure which was denounced by the opponent and his supporters, judging that it is a means to limit the publicity of the debates.
Towards a third trial?
On Tuesday, Alexei Navalny’s lawyers issued a request that their client be dressed in civilian clothes and that the hearing be adjourned and transferred to a Moscow court. Requests rejected by judge Margarita Kotova.
A sworn enemy of the Kremlin, Navalny was arrested in January 2021 on his return to his country and imprisoned. His conviction for “fraud” had provoked a shower of criticism and new Western sanctions against Moscow. At the end of January, the European Union again called for his release.
Last June, Navalny’s main organizations, in particular his Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK), were qualified as “extremists” by Russian justice. A decision that led to their closure and legal proceedings against many of their activists. Many of them are now in exile.
At the end of January, Alexeï Navalny was himself placed on the list of “terrorists and extremists”. He is also the subject of prosecution for extremism and should undergo a third trial.