Published: Wed, February 03, 2021

Scores more detained as Moscow court considers prison term for Navalny

Scores more detained as Moscow court considers prison term for Navalny

A Russian court sentenced Navalny to three and a half years in jail after ruling he had violated the terms of his parole, but said his prison term would be shortened for time he had served earlier under house arrest. Navalny has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind the poisoning that almost killed him.

"It's easy to lock me up".

"And it (the video) really got to me, it was the last straw, and I made a decision to protest". "You have stolen people's future and you are now trying to scare them".

Disenchantment over inequality was targeted by Navalny in a YouTube video, released shortly after his detention and viewed more than 106 million times, which showcased a 100 billion-rouble ($1.31 billion) palace complex in southern Russian Federation. "There was Alexander the Liberator, Yaroslav the Wise, and Putin the Underwear Poisoner", said Navalny.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the "perverse ruling, targeting the victim of a poisoning rather than those responsible, shows Russian Federation is failing to meet the most basic commitments expected of any responsible member of the global community".

The United States and the European Union have called for Navalny's immediate release and denounced police violence on demonstrators.

Since then, thousands of people have come out for two consecutive weekends to protest in support of him across dozens of cities across Russian Federation, defying huge police deployments ordered to disperse them.

Lines of fully armored riot police blocked off access to the court and officers checked journalists' credentials at a series of military-style checkpoints beginning around half a mile from the court building.

Police detained more protesters outside the courtroom on Tuesday, with OVD-Info, a group that monitors arrests and opposition protests, saying more than 300 people including journalists had been detained.

Only a handful of Navalny supporters managed to slip through the police ranks. Who gave USA the right to judge if it was wrongful or not?

"I came back to Moscow after I completed the course of treatment", Navalny said at Tuesday's hearing.

Arsen Bilalov, a 42-year-old teacher, had traveled nearly 2,000 kilometers from his hometown of Makhachkala in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, where he had already been briefly detained for protesting on January 23.

Alexei Navalny holds up a document in the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia. Amnesty has recognized Navalny as a "prisoner of conscience".

Not everyone near the courthouse was a fan of Navalny. Navalny led mass protests in 2017-18 against Putin's government.

Navalny is due for another court appearance later this week on charges of defaming a World War II veteran. He has blamed the attack on Russian security services and Putin himself, accusations that the Kremlin has repeatedly denied. The charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years additional in prison.

According to CBS, more than 8,000 of Navalny's supporters have been similarly arrested at protests in recent weeks, and are calling on followers to demonstrate again Tuesday in light of Navalny's sentence.

A decision to put Navalny behind bars for a lengthy period is likely to trigger further protests and fresh worldwide condemnation from the United States and European countries that have already demanded Navalny's release.

Visiting Moscow on Tuesday, Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde, the current chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, urged Russian Federation to release Navalny and condemned the crackdown on protests.

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