MOSCOW: Russia on Tuesday rejected an appeal lodged by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny against a court decision to jail him for 19 years in a maximum security prison on extremism charges.
The First Court of Appeal of General Jurisdiction ruled “to uphold the decision” last month by Moscow City Court, announced judge Viktor Rogov. Navalny, who is Russia´s most prominent opposition politician, galvanised huge anti-government rallies before he was jailed in 2021 on fraud charges that his allies at home and abroad say are punitive.
In August, a court in his prison outside Moscow handed him a 19-year jail term, accusing him of having created an organisation that undermined public security by carrying out “extremist activities”.
The 47-year-old trained lawyer threatened the Kremlin by establishing a network of political offices across the country and a corruption watchdog that brought credible graft allegations against political elites.
He was jailed in 2021 after arriving in Moscow from Germany, where he had been recovering from a poisoning attack with Novichok, a Soviet-designed nerve agent, he blamed on the Kremlin.
The ruling last month came a year and a half into Russia´s assault on Ukraine, which brought with it an unprecedented crackdown on dissenting voices. “You are being forced to surrender your Russia without a fight to a gang of traitors, thieves and scoundrels who have seized power. Don´t lose the will to resist,” Navalny said in a statement.