18 Oct 2022 13:22

Russian cassation court upholds Navalny's 9-year term for fraud and contempt of court

MOSCOW. Oct 18 (Interfax) - The Second Cassation Court of General Jurisdiction has dismissed a cassation appeal contesting the sentence handed down to Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who got a nine-year term in a high-security penal colony for fraud and contempt of court.

"The cassation appeal is dismissed," the judicial panel's ruling delivered on Tuesday said.

Thus, the cassation court upheld the court rulings earlier issued in Navalny's case, both the sentence itself and the appellate decision.

For their part, Navalny and his lawyers insisted that these rulings are illegal and urged the cassation court to overturn them and to acquit the opposition figure.

In turn, the state prosecutor asked the court to dismiss the defense team's appeal.

On March 22, 2022, during an off-site session in Penal Colony No. 2 in the town of Pokrov, Vladimir region Moscow's Lefortovsky District Court sentenced Navalny to nine years in a maximum-security penal colony and fined him 1.2 million rubles for fraud and contempt of court.

The Moscow City Court upheld the sentence on May 24.

According to the bill of indictment, Navalny established a network of associates, including Leonid Volkov, who is designated as a foreign agent in Russia, Roman Rubanov and others, who raised donations from the general public to finance the activities of a number of extremist organizations and also for the 2018 presidential race.

The prosecutors said that, instead of funding the statutory activity of his non-governmental organizations, Navalny spent the donations on extremism and personal needs.

They also said that Navalny was raising funds for his presidential campaign despite being convicted and deprived of passive election rights, "thus misleading donors about his real objectives."

According to the Russian Investigative Committee, Navalny and his accomplices stole and spent at their own discretion the donations from four citizens totaling 2,693,503 rubles.

In addition, Navalny was found guilty of contempt of court.

According to the investigators, the opposition activist neglected generally accepted norms, and seeking to humiliate the judge and impede normal legal proceedings, insulted justice of the peace Vera Akimova, who was hearing his case of slandering World War II veteran Ignat Artyomenko in 2021.

The bill of indictment also says that Navalny insulted prosecutor Yekaterina Frolova in the case of slandering the veteran and the veteran's grandson Igor Kolesnikov.

Navalny pleaded not guilty and said that the activities he was accused of were actually normal political work.

Navalny is serving his term in the correctional facility in the village of Melekhovo, Kovrov district, Vladimir region.