Feb 2, 2021 - World

Alexei Navalny sentenced to prison

Navalny is escorted to prison by police. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to about 2.5 years in prison, officially for violating parole while he recovered in Germany from an assassination attempt.

Driving the news: A 3.5-year suspended sentence dating from 2014 — stemming from charges that were widely seen as politically motivated — was turned into a prison term, minus the 10 months Navalny previously spent under house arrest. His arrest last month upon his return to Russia sparked widespread protests over the past two weekends.

  • Navalny addressed the court before his sentence was announced on Tuesday, describing the charges against him as completely fabricated and motivated by "the fear of the man in the bunker" — Vladimir Putin.
  • Navalny made his name as a video blogger and anti-corruption activist, ultimately becoming perhaps the biggest thorn in Putin's side.
  • Even after Navalny's arrest, his organization released a viral video two weeks ago accusing Putin of controlling a "billion dollar palace."

The latest: Navalny made a heart-shaped hand gesture toward his wife Yulia as his sentence was read out.

  • His organization has called for immediate protests near the Kremlin in Moscow.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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