A Moscow court rejected Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s appeal and request to be released from captivity, meaning he will remain jailed for more than two years.
While the court rejected Alexei Navalny’s appeal Saturday, the court reduced his sentence by two months to two years and six months, according to Politico. In a statement before the court, Navalny said he didn’t feel discouraged, but compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to the “Harry Potter” villain Voldemort.
“The government’s task is to scare you and then persuade you that you are alone,” Navalny said during the hearing, according to USA Today. “Our Voldemort in his palace also wants me to feel cut off.”
“To live is to risk it all. Otherwise, you’re just an inert chunk of randomly assembled molecules drifting wherever the universe blows you,” he added in reference to the popular show “Rick and Morty,” according to USA Today.
Navalny also said he had come to believe in God during the entire ordeal, USA Today reported. (RELATED: ‘They’re Sick Of The Country’: Number Of Russians Seeking Asylum In The US Jumps Amid Pandemic, Protests)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled,” Navalny said, quoting scripture, according to Politico.
On Feb. 2, Navalny was sentenced for violating the terms of his probation from a 2014 embezzlement. Navalny said the case was “completely fabricated” and has repeatedly slammed Putin since the sentencing.
“There is no law in Russia now. There are no rights,” Navalny’s spokesperson tweeted after the hearing, Politico reported. “There is one crazy little old man who has been running the country for 20 years, guided only by his fear and hatred.”
Russia has seen multiple protests nationwide in support of Navalny. More than 5,400 people were detained in a single day at the beginning of the month. It was estimated that tens of thousands demonstrated that day.
Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin and co-founder of the Russia of the Future Party, fell extremely ill after he drank tea at an airport in Siberia on Aug. 20.
The U.S. and European Union have both condemned the apparent poisoning and demanded answers from Russia. However, Putin denied any wrongdoing saying that the agents would have been successful if they were behind the attack.
President Joe Biden addressed the alleged poisoning of Navalny during his Jan. 26 phone call with Putin, according to the White House. Sec. of State Antony Blinken also brought it up during his call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“It remains striking to me how concerned and maybe even scared the Russian Government seems to be of one man, Mr. Navalny,” Blinken said during a January press conference.
Lavrov, though, implored Blinken to respect his nation’s judicial process, according to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement. He also compared the arrests of Russian protesters to the arrests of Americans protesting the results of the recent U.S. presidential election.
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