20 Jul 2023 19:55

State prosecutor requests 20-year prison term for Navalny in extremism case

MOSCOW. July 20 (Interfax) - A state prosecutor has asked the Moscow City Court to sentence Alexei Navalny to 20 years' imprisonment at a maximum-security facility in a trial dealing with the formation of an extremist group and several other charges brought against him, the opposition activist's lawyer Vadim Kobzev told Interfax.

"The state prosecutor demanded 20 years at a high-security facility," Kobzev said after oral arguments on Thursday.

The prosecutor asked for 10 years' imprisonment at a medium-security facility for co-defendant Daniel Kholodny, the technical director of Navalny's YouTube project, the lawyer said.

Navalny's sentencing is due on August 4.

The term requested for Navalny takes into account time served as part of his previous punishment imposed by Moscow's Lefortovsky District Court in 2022.

The current trial is taking place behind closed doors. The case is being heard at correction facility No. 6 in Melekhovo village, Vladimir region, where Navalny is serving his prison sentence.

In the case tried by the Moscow City Court, Navalny is accused of forming an extremist group, funding extremism, publicly calling for extremist activity including on the Internet, the rehabilitation of Nazism, soliciting a minor to commit life-threatening actions, and creating a nonprofit organization which encroached on citizens' rights.

In particular, the case focuses on the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by Navalny, which in 2021 was ruled extremist in a lawsuit brought by prosecutors and its operations were banned in Russia.

Navalny pleaded not guilty.

In 2022, Lefortovsky Court sentenced him to nine years' imprisonment at a high-security facility and a 1.2 million ruble fine for large-scale fraud and contempt of court.

Before this, Navalny had been servicing a 3.5-year sentence handed down by Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky Court in 2014 in the so-called Yves Rocher case. The sentence was initially suspended, but in early 2021, on his return from Germany after treatment for suspected poisoning, the sentence was activated for his repeated violations of imposed restrictions and obligations.

Navalny has denied all charges.