In Russia and in the United States, political opponents of Putin and of Biden are criminals because they are a part of their opposition. In Russia, the number one target is Aleksey Navalny and in the United States it is Donald Trump.
Navalny has opposed the corruption in Russia which is opposing Putin. He exposed financial corruption and voter fraud. He eventually was poisoned on a flight in Russia. His family was able to move him to Germany for medical care. After recovering in Germany, Navalny returned to Russia and was arrested at the Moscow airport. He has been in prison. As his release date nears, he is being tried again and this time he will be sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. As you read this story, you can substitute the name Trump for Navalny. The similarities are frightening.
“Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny went on trial Monday on new charges of extremism that could keep him behind bars for decades.
The trial opened at a maximum-security penal colony in Melekhovo, 250 kilometers (150 miles) east of Moscow, where Navalny, 47, is serving a nine-year sentence for fraud and contempt of court — charges he says are politically motivated. Soon after it began, the judge ruled to close the trial despite Navalny's call to keep it open.
Navalny, who exposed official corruption and organized major anti-Kremlin protests, was arrested in January 2021 upon returning to Moscow after recuperating in Germany from nerve agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin.
Navalny has said the new extremism charges, which he rejected as "absurd," could keep him in prison for another 30 years. He said an investigator told him that he would also face a separate military trial on terrorism charges that could potentially carry a life sentence.
Monday's trial came amid a sweeping Russian crackdown on dissent amid the fighting in Ukraine, which Navalny has harshly criticized.
The Moscow City Court, which opened the hearing at Penal Colony No. 6, didn't allow reporters in the courtroom and they watched the proceedings via video feed from a separate building. Navalny's parents also were denied access to the court and followed the hearing remotely.
Navalny and his lawyers urged the judge to hold an open trial, arguing that authorities are eager to suppress details of the proceedings to cover up the weakness of the case.
"The investigators, the prosecutors and the authorities in general don't want the public to know about the trial," Navalny said.
The new charges relate to the activities of Navalny's anti-corruption foundation and statements by his top associates. His allies said the charges retroactively criminalize all the activities of Navalny's foundation since its creation in 2011.
Navalny has spent months in a tiny one-person cell, also called a "punishment cell," for purported disciplinary violations such as an alleged failure to properly button his prison clothes, properly introduce himself to a guard or to wash his face at a specified time.
As Navalny's trial opened, the Prosecutor General's office declared the Bulgaria-based Agora human rights group to be an "undesirable" organization. It said the group poses a "threat to the constitutional order and national security" by alleging human rights violations and offering legal assistance to members of the opposition movement.
Russian authorities have banned dozens of domestic and foreign nongovernmental organizations on similar grounds.”
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