A Russian court has sentenced opposition activist, Lilia Chanysheva, to seven and a half years in prison on charges of extremism. 

The conviction of Chanysheva, who is an associate of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, is the latest step in a years-long crackdown by the Kremlin on political opponents. 

She was found guilty of calling for extremism, forming an extremist group and founding an organisation that violates rights.

Chanysheva used to head Navalny’s office in the Russian region of Bashkortostan and was arrested in November 2021.

In addition to the prison sentence, Chanysheva was fined €4,400. 

Her trial was conducted behind closed doors and she has maintained her innocence, rejecting the charges as politically motivated.

Navalny himself is facing a new trial on extremism charges that could keep him in prison for decades.

Navalny exposed official corruption and organised massive anti-Kremlin protests and was arrested in January 2021.   Last year, he was sentenced to a nine-year term on fraud and contempt of court charges.

The Kremlin’s crackdown against opposition activists, independent journalists and government critics has intensified since it sent troops into Ukraine. 

Hundreds have faced criminal charges over anti-war protests and remarks and thousands have been fined or briefly jailed.

Source: Euronews

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