Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to three and a half years in prison Tuesday by Russian authorities, according to multiple reports.
Navalny was sentenced for “systematically and repeatedly” violating the terms of his probation from a court case in 2014 that resulted in a suspended sentence. The dissident will be sent to a penal colony for three and a half years, as first reported by The Guardian’s Luke Harding.
Breaking: Alexey @Navalny sentenced to three and a half years in a penal colony
— Luke Harding (@lukeharding1968) February 2, 2021
Navalny called the case against him “completely fabricated” and slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin in the courtroom Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. “Someone did not want me to take a single step on the territory of Russia, and we know why. The reason is the fear of the man in the bunker.”
His attorneys reportedly argued that the Russian court refused to uphold a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in 2014 which called for the overturning of his conviction. (RELATED: Report: Biden State Department Spokeswoman Called Police The ‘Largest Threat’ To National Security)
Thousands of Russian citizens, including journalists, have been detained in recent days for protesting Navalny’s treatment by the Russian government. Hundreds more reportedly surrounded the courthouse where the opposition figure received his sentence.
Numerous world leaders, including President Joe Biden, have called for the release of the Putin critic by Russian authorities, but the requests have gone unheeded. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned foreign diplomats not to get involved with his country’s domestic happenings, according to The Post.
Navalny, moments before he is sentenced to 3.5 years in prison, draws a heart (for his wife Yulia) on the glass separating him from the rest of the courtroom. pic.twitter.com/NSrtBnDSFL
— Piotr Zalewski (@p_zalewski) February 2, 2021
Navalny was poisoned in Aug. 2020 by what German authorities say was a Soviet-era nerve agent. Russia is accused of carrying out the attack that left Navalny in a coma, but Putin denies any involvement, saying Russian agents “would have finished the job” if they were responsible.