A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to two and a half years in prison for violating his parole conditions.
Navalny, who was arrested immediately upon returning to Russia from Germany two weeks ago, lashed out against the verdict in court, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “little thieving man in his bunker.”
“He can pretend he is this big politician, the world leader, but now my main offense to him is that he will go down in history as Putin the poisoner. There was Alexander the Liberator and Yaroslav the Wise and there will be Vladimir the Poisoner of Underpants,” Navalny said.
Navalny spent five months in Berlin for treatment after Novichok poisoning left him in a coma as he traveled in Siberia. He was transferred to Berlin’s Charite hospital after the doctors at the Siberian hospital where he was first taken said they could find “no trace” of poison in his system, while hesitating to have him transferred.
In December, Navalny said he was able to dupe a member of Russia’s Federal Security Service spy agency into revealing they were behind the poisoning but the Kremlin dismissed his claims. The spy allegedly said the toxin was placed in the “inner seams” of Navalny’s underwear while he stayed at the Xander hotel in the Siberian city of Tomsk.
Russian officials said Navalny violated the terms of his probation while in Berlin.
“Despite the preventative measures taken with him, Navalny repeatedly violated his deadlines for reporting to the inspection,” Judge Natalya Repnikova said Tuesday. “The court considers the motion of the Federal Penitentiary Service to be satisfied.”
Navalny was sentenced in December 2014 to three years and six months of a suspended sentence and five years of probation in 2014 after he was found guilty of embezzling $470,000 from cosmetics company Yves Rocher Vostok and stealing another $80,000 from a processing company. SOVEREIGNPH