A prominent Kremlin critic, Navalny was found guilty of fraud by the Lefortovo court in Moscow over allegations he stole from its Anti-Corruption Foundation.

Navalny, 45, is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence in a detention center east of the Russian capital after he was arrested in February 2021 for violating probation terms, a verdict he said was politically motivated.
After Tuesday’s sentencing announcement, Navalny wrote on Twitter: “9 years. Well, as the characters on my favorite TV show ‘The Wire’ used to say: ‘You’re only two days old. It’s the day you come in and the day you go out.”

He added: “I even had a T-shirt with this slogan, but the prison authorities confiscated it, considering the extremist print.”

Russian state news agency RIA reported that Navalny, who was also fined 1.2 million rubles (about $11,500), will appeal the guilty verdict, according to his lawyer.

Tuesday’s sentence was handed down at the Pokrov penal colony by a visitation session of the Lefortovo court.

As Judge Margarita Kotova read the charges against him, footage showed Navalny as a gaunt figure standing next to his lawyers in a room full of security guards. He appeared oblivious to the proceedings, perusing court documents on a table in front of him.

After the trial, Olga Mikhailova and Vadim Kobzev, two lawyers acting for the opposition leader, were taken in a prison van, RIA reported, before being released shortly afterwards. According to the news agency, the lawyers were initially taken away for not complying with demands to unblock the road after the hearing.

Navalny was first arrested in February 2021 after arriving in Moscow from Berlin, Germany, where he had spent several months recovering from poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok – an attack he blames to the Russian security services and to Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

In January, Russia added Navalny and his top aides to the “extremist and terrorist” federal register, according to Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service. His Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) was also banned by Russian courts last year as an “extremist” organization.

In prison, Navalny denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine via social media, advocating anti-war protests across the country as “the backbone of the movement against war and death”, according to Reuters.

In another tweet on Tuesday, Navalny said: “I am very grateful to everyone for their support. And, guys, I mean: the best support for me and other political prisoners is not sympathy and kind words, but actions. Any activity against Putin’s deceitful and thieving regime. Any opposition to these war criminals.

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Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly a month ago, thousands of people were arrested for anti-war protests, including in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The latest guilty verdict for Navalny comes amid a growing crackdown on political dissent in Russia.

Earlier this month, Putin signed a censorship bill making it impossible for news outlets to accurately report news in or from Russia.

The law, says the Committee to Protect Journalists, makes it a crime to spread ‘false’ news about the invasion of Ukraine, punishable by up to 15 years in prison for anyone found guilty .

Last year, concerns over Navalny’s health were raised by his allies after he endured a week-long hunger strike demanding “appropriate medical attention” – which his team claims he does not. couldn’t get in the Pokrov penal colony.

Days after he ended his hunger strike in April, Navalny’s network of regional offices for his political movement was “officially disbanded”, according to his chief of staff Leonid Volkov.