“Navalny committed fraud — the theft of property by an organized group,” Judge Margarita Kotova announced the verdict, according to Agence France-Presse. The court also found him guilty of being disrespectful to the court.
The sentence extension was announced shortly after the verdict, according to the Moscow Times.
Navalny had been accused of stealing several million dollars worth of donations from his Anti-Corruption Foundation. The prosecution in the case last week demanded that Navalny’s sentence be extended to 13 years, that he be moved to a “strict regime” penal colony, and that he pay a fine of 1.2 million rubles, or about $11,500.
The anti-corruption activist had already been imprisoned for two-and-a-half years at a detention center for violating probation related to a previous conviction on sham embezzlement charges. Navalny voluntarily returned to Russia to face the charges after after spending a month in a German hospital, where he was being treated for nerve-agent poisoning.
The former mayoral and presidential candidate claimed his treatment was politically motivated and green-lighted by Putin’s regime. The Kremlin denied that it played a role. Protests erupted across Russia in the two weeks prior to his sentencing and also after it was handed down, which were squashed by Russian authorities.
Navalny looked defiant and calm on video camera Tuesday, flipping through documents as the verdict was read. Each time he has been convicted of criminal activity by Russia, he has doubled down. On March 15, he posted on Instagram, “If the prison term is the price of my human right to say things that need to be said … then they can ask for 113 years. I will not renounce my words or deeds.”
Navalny and his close associates were listed on the “extremist and terrorist” federal registry in Russia, according to the Russian Federal Service for Financial Monitoring. Russian courts banned his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) last year, calling it an “extremist” group.
The dissident’s likely prison extension comes amid Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has triggered anti-war demonstrations across Russia and police crackdowns. In the early days of the conflict, Russian police arrested thousands of protestors calling for peace. In January, Navalny criticized the Biden administration for failing to confront the Kremlin for its aggression, likening the U.S. to a ” frightened schoolboy ” who cowers to a bully. At that point, Russia had ramped up its provocation, stationing over 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine.
Navalny told Time’s Simon Shuster, “Time and again the West falls into Putin’s elementary traps. It just takes my breath away, watching how Putin pulls this on the American establishment again and again.”
President Biden has repeatedly condemned Russia’s treatment of Navalny, warning last June that his death would erode U.S.-Russia relations. But that relationship has greatly deteriorated anyway since Russia launched the assault on its neighbor.