US condemns Russia over Navalny sentencing

By: Agence France-Presse

The United States on Friday slammed Russia for handing jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny 19 years behind bars on extremism charges, calling it “an unjust conclusion to an unjust trial.”

“The United States condemns a Russian court’s further sentencing and conviction of opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner Aleksey Navalny,” the US State Department said in a statement.

“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.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken posted on social media that “The Kremlin cannot silence the truth. Navalny should be released.”

The heavy sentence for Navalny, who had mobilized massive protests, is the latest in a string of lawsuits against high-profile activists and ordinary Russians who have protested Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

The trial was held behind closed doors at the IK-6 penal colony, a maximum-security prison some 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Moscow, where Navalny is jailed.