Russia’s top opposition figure loses fight over prison terms

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, lost another court fight to protest his prison conditions Thursday.

A judge in the Vladimir region’s city of Kovrov dismissed Navalny’s protest against his confinement in a punishment cell, at least the second time it has rejected such a complaint from the dissident.

Navalny, who appeared in court via video-call from prison, is serving a nine-year sentence in the maximum-security IK-6 prison in the Vladimir region’s village of Melekhovo, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Moscow.

“I will never get out of the punishment cell! Make some decisions, otherwise I will live here forever!” Navalny said, at one point laughing.

Navalny, 46, was arrested in Russia in January 2021 upon returning from Germany, where he had been recuperating from nerve-agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin.

He was given a two-and-half-year sentence for a parole violation.

In March, Navalny was sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of fraud and contempt of court, allegations he rejected as politically motivated and an attempt by the authorities to keep him behind bars for as long as possible.

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