Russian prosecutors requested a jail term of 20 years for the already imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny as he faces charges of “extremism”, his allies said on Thursday.
They said the court will announce its verdict on August 4 following a closed-door trial that was held in the maximum-security prison where Navalny is serving a nine-year sentence on charges his supporters see as punishment for his political work.
The case comes more than a year into Russia’s full-scale offensive in Ukraine, which unleashed an unprecedented crackdown on the Kremlin’s critics, with many now in exile or in jail.
In his final words in court, Navalny, 47, criticised Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, according to a statement released by his aides.
Russia is “floundering in a pool of either mud or blood, with broken bones, with a poor and robbed population, and around it lie tens of thousands of people killed in the most stupid and senseless war of the 21st century,” Navalny said.
The trained lawyer faces charges of financing extremist activity, publicly inciting extremist activities and “rehabilitating the Nazi ideology,” among other offences.
Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s most vocal domestic critic, Navalny once mobilised massive anti-Kremlin protests.
He was arrested in 2021 on his arrival in Moscow from Germany, where he had been recovering from a poisoning attack that he blamed on the Kremlin.