US says sentencing of Kremlin critic is 'unjust conclusion to an unjust trial'

US says sentencing of Kremlin critic is 'unjust conclusion to an unjust trial'

State Department denounces sentencing of Alexey Navalny to more jail time on 'unfounded charges of so-called 'extremism'

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US sharply rebuffed Russia on Friday after a leading Kremlin critic was sentenced to additional jail time on "unfounded charges of so-called 'extremism.'"

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the latest court ruling against Alexey Navalny represents "an unjust conclusion to an unjust trial."

"For years, the Kremlin has attempted to silence Navalny and prevent his calls for transparency and accountability from reaching the Russian people. By conducting this latest trial in secret and limiting his lawyers’ access to purported evidence, Russian authorities illustrated yet again both the baselessness of their case and the lack of due process afforded to those who dare to criticize the regime," he said in a statement.

"The United States strongly condemns Russia’s continued detention of Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza, and the more than 500 other designated political prisoners Russia holds. We will continue to follow their cases closely and advocate for the release of all unjustly detained persons," he added.

Navalny was arrested in January 2021 after a hospital stay in Germany, where he was being treated for poisoning. Western countries and Navalny himself blamed Russia for the poisoning, a claim the Kremlin denies.

He was later handed a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for violating the terms of his probation in a previous politically motivated case.

He was subsequently sentenced to nine years in prison in March 2022 after being convicted on fraud charges in a trial derided by him and the West as politically-motivated.

On Friday, he was sentenced to an additional 19 years behind bars, Russian media reported.

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