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Ex-Navalny Volunteer Faces 10-Year Prison Term for ‘Hateful’ Online Comments

Photographer Alexander Strukov was charged over negative online comments toward security officers who allegedly tortured detainees. Social media

A former volunteer for jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s Moscow office faces up to 10.5 years in prison on charges of “extremism” and “inciting hatred,” the Znak.com news website reported Monday.

Photographer Alexander Strukov is accused of posting comments on Znak.com’s Telegram messaging app channel expressing negative views toward security officers who had allegedly tortured detainees.

Authorities determined that Strukov’s comments contained “the threat of violent destructive actions” and “justification to commit destructive terrorist acts” toward Russian law enforcement and political leaders.

Znak.com said it turned off the comment section on its Telegram channel following Strukov’s arrest.

A Moscow court placed Strukov in pre-trial detention last Friday, two days after he was detained.

He faces up to 10.5 years on criminal charges of “inciting hatred” and “public calls for extremist activity.” 

Strukov denies breaking any laws.

According to Interfax, authorities identified Strukov’s Telegram account by comparing photographs with those posted on his profile on the VKontakte social network.

His jailing comes amid the arrest on retroactive “extremism” charges of at least five former coordinators of Navalny’s network. They face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

A growing number of Navalny's most prominent allies have fled Russia since authorities labeled his political and activist network “extremist” in June 2021. At least seven of Navalny's associates and former regional coordinators were this month included in the country’s “terrorist and extremist” register.

In 2017, another Navalny volunteer in the central Russian republic of Chuvashia was sentenced to two years and three months for “inciting hatred” and “extremism” in social media posts.

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