Updated December 29th, 2023 at 17:47 IST

Alexei Navalny ally jailed for 9 years in Russia

Fadeyeva's legal troubles began in December 2021 after a Moscow court designated Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation an "extremist" organisation.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures during a court hearing in Moscow | Image:AP
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Ksenia Fadeyeva, a prominent ally of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Friday by a Siberian court for alleged extremist activities. This move further tightens the Kremlin's grip on dissent as anti-Putin sentiment simmers ahead of March elections.

According to a report from Politico, Fadeyeva, formerly the head of Navalny's regional headquarters in Tomsk and a city council member, received the harsh sentence and a €5,000 fine after a trial shrouded in controversy. Mediazona, an independent news outlet, reported her lawyer's scathing assessment: "What happened in this trial has nothing to do with justice... We've actually been bullied for the last week. The defense was limited in the stage of presenting evidence."

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Not a fair justice system?

This stark contrast in court access was highlighted by Fadeyeva's lawyer, who stated that while prosecutors enjoyed "over more than 25 court hearings," the defense "only had four days to present evidence."

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Fadeyeva's legal troubles began in December 2021 after a Moscow court designated Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation an "extremist" organization and banned its activities. This label, widely considered politically motivated, led to Fadeyeva's own designation as a "terrorist" in January 2022.

A case of political persecution?

"Ksenia did not commit any crime," declared Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation. "She is a brave politician who has been fighting against Putin's corrupt regime. She has to be free."

This development comes amidst a broader crackdown on Navalny's supporters and independent voices in Russia. Notably, it follows Navalny's recent campaign urging voters to "vote for anyone but Putin" in the March 2024 presidential election. Shortly after launching this campaign, Navalny mysteriously disappeared for three weeks before being transferred to a remote prison colony. In August, the Kremlin doubled down, handing him an additional 19 years in prison.

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Fadeyeva's sentence sends a chilling message to critics of the Putin regime. The harshness of the punishment and the alleged irregularities in the trial raise concerns about the rule of law and the erosion of fundamental freedoms in Russia. As the country gears up for elections, the fight for political representation and basic rights appears all the more crucial.

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Published December 29th, 2023 at 17:47 IST