Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said Wednesday he faces potential life imprisonment on fresh charges of terrorism amid an ongoing campaign to silence one of the most potent opposition forces in modern Russia.
Authorities have launched as many as 10 new criminal cases against Navalny, 46, since he was sentenced to nine years in prison on fraud charges he disputes. A Moscow court later added two and a half years to his sentence on contempt-of-court charges.
In a Twitter thread shared by his team, the anti-corruption campaigner said an investigator warned him that a military court will try him on fresh terrorism charges.
“I’m facing 30 years [in prison] under this case and life imprisonment under the next one,” Navalny said.
He called the latest charges “absurd” and accused prison authorities of preventing him from examining almost 700 pages of case materials. The court ruled Wednesday to grant Navalny 10 days to study the case.
Navalny added that he was placed in 15-day solitary confinement Tuesday immediately after being released from a previous 15-day stint without the customary day-long pause that had been observed since the Soviet era.
“Now that’s what you call a milestone!” He tweeted. “The hard rule of prisons, which was strictly followed both in the U.S.S.R. and Russia, got abolished for me.”
Footage shared by his team showed Navalny appearing in Moscow’s Basmanny District Court via video link.
Judge Yevgeniya Nikolayeva closed the hearing minutes after it began, Navalny’s team said.
Navalny was imprisoned upon his January 2021 return to Russia after recovering from a near-fatal poisoning with what Western scientists determined was Novichok, a banned military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviets.
Russian officials outlawed Navalny’s political and activist organizations as "extremist" organizations later that year, prompting nearly all of his close aides to leave the country.
This month, Russian investigators claimed links between Navalny’s supporters and the assassination of pro-war military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, which Navalny’s associates deny.
Navalny has vowed to continue his opposition to the Kremlin and the war in Ukraine from prison.
Russian investigators have placed 11 people on an “international wanted list” in a criminal case linked to Navalny, state media reported Wednesday.