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Associate of Russian opposition leader Navalny sentenced to 9 years in prison

An associate of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to nine years in prison, the latest measure in the Kremlin’s relentless crackdown on dissent.

MOSCOW — An associate of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison, the latest measure in a relentless Kremlin crackdown on dissent.

Ksenia Fadeyeva, a regional lawmaker who headed a local branch of Navalny’s organization in the Siberian city of Tomsk, was found guilty of organizing an extremist group. Her lawyers said they would appeal the verdict, arguing that Fadeyeva ended her involvement in Navalny’s organization before authorities labeled her an extremist in 2021.

Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent foe, is serving a 19-year prison sentence for extremism. Earlier this month, he disappeared for several weeks until his lawyers announced Monday that he had been transferred from a prison in central Russia to a remote Arctic penal colony known for its Difficult conditions.

Navalny has been behind bars in Russia since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow after recovering in Germany from nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Before his arrest, he had campaigned against official corruption and organized major anti-Kremlin protests.

A Moscow court declared Navalny’s Foundation for Combating Corruption and around 40 regional offices extremists in June 2021, shutting down his political network and forcing many of his close aides and team members to leave Russia. Those who remained were prosecuted.

Fadeyeva’s case is the latest in a series of convictions of regional activists linked to Navalny’s work.

Lilia Chanysheva, who headed Navalny’s headquarters in Ufa, central Russia, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison on similar charges in June, and Vadim Ostanin, who previously headed Navalny’s office in Barnaul , in southern Siberia, was sentenced to 9 years in prison. in July for organizing an extremist community.

And in October, authorities arrested three lawyers representing Navalny in what his associates described as part of the Kremlin’s efforts to completely isolate him.

Navalny associate Leonid Volkov said he urged Fadeyeva to leave Russia amid the crackdown, but she refused, citing her obligations to voters. She has been in detention since her arrest in November.

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