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Russian court rejects Navalny’s appeal against jail term

The Russian court rejected the appeal of the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny against a jail term, which was reinstated after he committed parole violations related to a suspended sentence he received in 2014 for the alleged embezzlement of funds belonging to the French cosmetics and beauty company, Yeves Rocher.

In response to Navalny’s appeal, the court merely reduced the sentence by 1.5 months taking into consideration the time Navalny spent under house arrest between 2014 and 2015. The two years and six months sentence means that Navalny would be released in August 2023.

In his last words before the court’s verdict, Navalny said he believed in God, although he used to be “a fervent atheist”, and as a believer he tried to live his life according to the Bible, which helped him in his political activism. He talked about those who seek truth: “Although our country is built on injustice and we have experienced it, we can see that at the same time millions of people want the truth,” said the activist. He added that they would achieve the goal, sooner or later.

Mr Navalny also talked about his vision for Russia.

“I want Russia to be rich – this is aligned with her national riches. I want these riches to be justly shared. (…) I want people to receive the same pay for the same work as in European countries.”

He added that Russia “has everything”, but at the same time it is “an unhappy” nation, which cannot break out from a circle of suffering. He referred to the slogan “Russia shall be free!” adopted by the anti-Kremlin opposition. “Russia should not only be free, but it should also be happy. Russia will be happy,” concluded Navalny.

The activist is due to appear in court again later on Saturday for what is expected to be the culmination of a separate slander trial against him. He is accused of defaming a World War Two veteran who took part in a promotional video backing constitutional reforms last year that lets Putin run for two more terms in the Kremlin after 2024 if he wants.

It is uncertain when Navalny will be sent to the penal camp as his lawyers are planning to appeal the slander case.

On Friday, Poland’s Senate, the upper house of the parliament, adopted a resolution calling on the European Union to impose sanctions against Russia in response to Navalny’s sentencing.

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