Alexei Navalny supporters fear Russian dissident could face 20 more years in prison

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

July 20 (UPI) -- Imprisoned Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny could face an additional 20 years in prison, according to his legal team.

"The prosecution demands a cumulative sentence of 20 years in a maximum-security penal colony for Navalny," Navalny's twitter account tweeted Thursday.

In 2020, Navalny survived an assassination attempt with Novichok nerve agent and was arrested in January 2021 on returning to Russia after receiving treatment in Germany.

Navalny initially was sentenced to two and a half years at a penal colony but had his sentence extended by nine years on fraud charges in 2022.

The United States and Britain have condemned Navalny's imprisonment, and a spokesperson for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the organization was "deeply dismayed," by the imprisonment.

Navalny currently faces charges of extremism.

"I am accused of inciting hatred towards representatives of the authorities and special service, judges and members of the United Russia party. No, I don't incite hatred. I just remember that a person has two legs: conscience and intellect," Navalny told a Russian court during a hearing Monday, according to statements shared by his team.

"Anyone in Russia knows that a person who seeks justice in a court of law is completely vulnerable. The case of that person is hopeless," Navalny said, according to his team.

Navalny referenced the short-lived Wagner mutiny in his closing statement.

"Those who were declared traitors to their Motherland and betrayers in the morning killed several Russian army officers as the entire Russia watched in astonishment, and by lunch agreed on something with someone and went home," Navalny told the court.

"I continue to fight against that unscrupulous evil that calls itself 'the state power of the Russian Federation,'" Navalny said.

In January, Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, said her husband was in need of medical attention.

"In a letter dated January 2, he writes me that he is ill. That is, he has a temperature for more than a week that is, for over a week he is not allowed to lie down during the day, despite high temperature. They don't treat and purposely deteriorate the conditions of maintenance," Navalnaya said in an Instagram post.