(AP) — A Moscow court has ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to prison for more than 2 1/2 years for violating the terms of his probation while he was recuperating in Germany from nerve-agent poisoning.
The ruling ignited protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Navalny, the most prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, had earlier denounced the proceedings as a vain attempt by the Kremlin to scare millions of Russians into submission. The prison sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that he has rejected as fabricated.
The 44-year-old Navalny was arrested Jan. 17 upon returning from his five-month convalescence in Germany from the attack, which he has blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities deny any involvement.