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Court finds Navalny guilty of alleged fraud

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In a new criminal case for alleged embezzlement, a court on Tuesday found jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny guilty. Navalny is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence for fraud in a penal colony east of Moscow.

The new trial for embezzlement and contempt, which is now the verdict, was held in the penal colony. The investigators accuse Navalny of having used for personal purposes the donations of four million euros paid to his political organizations.

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Navalny and his lawyers reject the accusations. Even before the verdict was announced, Navalny’s team spoke of new evidence of the arbitrariness of the judiciary in Russia. “We said that Putin wants to keep Navalny in prison forever,” opposition spokeswoman Kira Jarmysh said. Navalny is the harshest critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jarmysh said that Putin was taking revenge on Navalny “after he failed to kill him.” The Kremlin opponent barely survived an assassination attempt with the chemical warfare agent Novichok in August 2020. The president denied his involvement. The EU had imposed sanctions on Russia for the attack.

Navalny returned to Russia a good year ago after recovering in Germany, where then Chancellor Angela Merkel had visited him at the Charité in Berlin. He was arrested at the Moscow airport on January 17, 2021 for allegedly violating the conditions in another criminal case during his recovery.

More about the Ukrainian war on Tagesspiegel Plus:

Last week, Navalny used his closing remarks at the trial, which Jarmysch said could not be heard during the broadcast due to technical glitches, to criticize Putin’s war against Ukraine. “Waging war is fighting despotism. (.) That means fighting Putin,” Navalny said. “Now we understand that there are not only evil, greedy and stupid people in power, but also insane people.” (AFP-dpa)

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