Navalny Defiant As Prosecutor Asks For An Additional 13 Years In Prison During Kremlin Critic's Trial

The prosecutor in the trial of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny wants the outspoken Kremlin critic to be handed a 13-year prison sentence on charges of embezzlement and contempt of court.

During final statements on March 15, prosecutor Nadezhda Tikhonova also asked Moscow’s Lefortovo district court to fine Navalny 1.2 million rubles. ($9,900). The trial, which started a month ago, is being held inside Correctional Colony No. 2 in the town of Pokrov in the Vladimir region about 200 kilometers east of Moscow.

Navalny has spent the last year in the penal colony on a different charge after returning from abroad, where he was recovering from a near-fatal poison attack that he blames on the Kremlin.

The corruption crusader reiterated his innocence during his final statement at the trial, noting the prosecution's demands highlighted the corrupt nature of the trial.

"You can demand and sentence me to 113 years [in prison], but you won't scare me or those like me," Navalny told the court.

"Russia is big, it has many people, and not everyone is ready to betray their future and the future of their children in as cowardly a manner as you did!" he added.

The new case against Navalny was launched in December 2020 on allegations that the 45-year-old anti-corruption campaigner embezzled money from his now-defunct and banned Anti-Corruption Foundation and for contempt of a Moscow court.

Investigators accuse Navalny of taking around $33,770 in donations for his own personal use. Navalny and his supporters reject all the charges, calling them politically motivated.

Within weeks of returning from his convalescence in Germany in January 2021, Navalny was handed a prison sentence of two and a half years for violating the terms of an earlier parole. His conviction is widely regarded as the result of a trumped-up, politically motivated case.

It is not clear whether any new sentence he receives will run concurrently or be tacked on to the penalty he is now serving.

The Kremlin has denied any role in the poisoning, which along with Navalny's arrest sparked widespread condemnation and sanctions from the West.