Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny was sentenced to nine more years in a high security prison on March 22. State Department spokesperson Ned Price condemned the “politically-motivated conviction and sentencing of Navalny on additional spurious charges.” The United States has repeatedly urged the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally release Aleksey Navalny and to end its campaign against his organizations and associates. The excessive prison term is a continuation of the Kremlin’s years-long assault on Navalny and on his movement for government transparency and accountability.
In 2020, Navalny was nearly poisoned to death by a chemical nerve agent Novichok at the hands of Russian security services. After receiving life-saving treatment in Germany, he returned to Russia in January 2021 and was promptly arrested and imprisoned. Navalny has continued to speak out against the Kremlin’s suppression of freedom of expression in Russia, and the increasing restrictions on the ability of Russia’s citizens to access information and communicate freely with each other and the outside world.
This campaign has intensified as the Kremlin seeks to hide the truth of its brutal war against Ukraine from its own people. More than 15,000 Russian citizens have been detained for taking part in anti-war protests since February 24. Russia’s communications authority has blocked access to most independent news outlets and several social media platforms, and threatened journalists and citizens alike with jail time if they dare to openly discuss the war against Ukraine.
In a message shared on Twitter, Navalny expressed gratitude to his supporters and added: "The best support for me and other political prisoners is not sympathy and kind words, but actions - any activity against the deceitful and thievish Putin regime. Any opposition to these war criminals."
State Department spokesperson Price said, “Navalny’s case is sadly one of many the Kremlin continues to brazenly pursue as it systematically ignores the constitutional rights of the Russian people and its international commitments to respect and ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
“Now more than ever,” said spokesperson Price, “the people of Russia must be able to hear voices of courage and integrity that tell the truth about the Kremlin’s wrongdoing at home and abroad.”