Putin foe Navalny gets 9 more years in Russian prison

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court has convicted top opposition leader Alexei Navalny of fraud and contempt of court, sentencing him to nine more years in prison in a move seen as an attempt to keep him behind bars for as long as possible.

The new sentence for President Vladimir Putin’s biggest political foe follows a year-long crackdown on Navalny’s supporters, other opposition activists and independent journalists in which authorities appear eager to stifle all dissent.

The 45-year-old Navalny, who survived a poisoning with a nerve agent in 2020 that he blames on the Kremlin, is already serving 2½ years in a penal colony east of Moscow.

The verdict was announced on Tuesday. The prosecution accused Navalny of embezzling money that he and his foundation raised over the years and of insulting a judge during a previous trial. Navalny rejects the allegations as politically motivated. The prosecution had asked for 13 years in a maximum security prison.