Russian prosecutors seek 20 years for opposition politician Navalny

(Reuters) -Russia’s state prosecutors on Thursday requested a sentence of 20 years in a penal colony for jailed Russian opposition politician Navalny on charges including extremism, according to the court hearing his trial, state news agency TASS reported.

TASS cited a lawyer as saying the verdict would be announced on Aug. 4.

Navalny has been on trial since last month, behind closed doors, at the IK-6 penal colony in Melekhovo, about 235 km (145 miles) east of Moscow, where he is already serving sentences totalling 11-1/2 years on fraud and other charges that he says were trumped up to silence him.

President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and vocal opponent faces a grab-bag of new charges, which he says are similarly fabricated to keep him out of political life.

Court records show they relate to six different articles of the Russian criminal code, including inciting and financing extremist activity and creating an extremist organisation.

Russia has outlawed Navalny’s campaign organisation as part of a crackdown on dissent that started well before the conflict in Ukraine and has intensified in the nearly 17 months since it started.

The Kremlin denies persecuting Navalny and says his case is a matter for the courts.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Kevin Liffey;Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)