Kremlin critic Navalny gets nine more years in prison on fraud conviction

Moscow: Russia’s most prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been given nine years in a “strict regime penal colony” in a fraud case rejected by supporters as fabricated.

Navalny was detained when he returned to Russia last year, after surviving a poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. He is already serving three and a half years in jail for breaking bail conditions while in hospital.

A judge has now found him guilty of fraud and contempt of court. Prosecutors accused him of stealing $4.7m (£3.5m) of donations given to his now banned organizations, including his anti-corruption foundation.

Delivering her verdict, Judge Margarita Kotova said Navalny had carried out “the theft of property by an organized group”.

The new sentence replaces his earlier jail term, so the opposition leader will now have to serve some seven years in a maximum-security prison, with much stricter conditions and far more remote than the jail in Pokrov east of Moscow where he has spent more than a year.

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