(Reuters) – Russian state prosecutors have asked a court to sentence jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny to a further 20 years in a penal colony on various criminal charges including extremism, with a verdict expected on Friday.
Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest and most vocal domestic opponent, is already serving sentences totalling 11-1/2 years on fraud and other charges, which he says were trumped up to silence him.
WHAT ARE THE NEW CHARGES?
– Creation of an extremist organisation;
– Rehabilitation of Nazism;
– Two counts of public calls for extremism (one at a rally and another online);
– Creation of a non-governmental organisation (Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund) whose activities are alleged to be associated with incitement to commit crimes;
– Involvement of a minor in committing illegal acts (stemming from the fact that people under 18 attended Navalny’s rallies);
– Raising funds to finance extremism.
HOW DOES NAVALNY PLEAD?
Navalny says the charges, like all those before them, have been fabricated to keep him out of public life and politics.
WHAT DOES THE KREMLIN SAY ABOUT THE CASE?
The Kremlin denies persecuting Navalny, whom it has portrayed as a Western-backed agent of political disruption, and says his case is purely a legal matter for the courts.
“We are not following this trial,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in June.
HOW MANY MORE YEARS COULD NAVALNY FACE IN PRISON?
State prosecutors have requested 20 years, but Navalny said in April that investigators had also opened what he called an “absurd” terrorism case against him that could see him sentenced to an additional 30 years in jail.
It was not clear what the terrorism case could relate to, but Russia’s Federal Security Service has said that Ukraine and Russian opposition figures, including Navalny supporters, were involved in the killing of a prominent Russian war blogger.
Terrorism carries a sentence in Russia of up to 35 years.
(Reporting by Filipp Lebedev and Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Gareth Jones and Conor Humphries)