Navalny Sentenced, Gives Putin New Nickname

Russian opposition leader denounces 'Putin the Poisoner' in court
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2021 12:53 PM CST
Russian Court Gives Navalny New Sentence
Alexei Navalny talks to one of his lawyers, left, in a Moscow court Tuesday.   (Moscow City Court via AP)

Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader and Vladamir Putin irritant, was hit with a new prison sentence Tuesday. His supporters immediately called for street protests Tuesday night, and Navalny condemned the ruling in court even before he was sentenced. "They're imprisoning one person to frighten millions," Navalny said. "This isn't a demonstration of strength, it's a show of weakness." He was sentenced to a 3½-year prison term, CBS reports. Credit for time served reduced that to 2 years, 8 months. Navalny told the court that his campaign against Putin's rule won't end because he's behind bars. Security was heavy at the Moscow court, and the defendant was put in a glass cage. "My life isn't worth two cents," Navalny said, "but I will do everything I can so that the law prevails."

Prosecutors contended Navalny broke the terms of a suspended sentence by not checking in with prison officials as required, per the Wall Street Journal, while he was in Germany recovering from a poisoning. Navanly has argued the earlier conviction was politically motivated. He told the court Tuesday that he couldn't very well check in with Russian officials while in a coma. One requirement was that he keep officials informed of his whereabouts; he pointed out in court that "the president of our country said live on air he let me go to get treatment in Germany." He blamed Putin for the assassination attempt, per CNN, saying, "He can pretend he is this big politician, the world leader, but now my main offense to him is that he will go down in history as Putin the Poisoner." (Russia has arrested thousands of protesters the past two weekends.)

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