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West has swift reaction following Navalny conviction

The European Union and the United Nations have denounced the newest conviction of Aleksey Navalny, calling it a sham trial and demanding the prisoner's immediate release.

After a "rigged trial," "this arbitrary sentence is a response to his courage to criticise the Kremlin regime," European Council President Charles Michel wrote on X, the former Twitter. "The EU condemns in the strongest terms his politically motivated arrest, trial and conviction," EU head of diplomacy Josep Borrell added in a statement.

The United Nations also calls for "the immediate release" of Navalny. "This verdict raises new concerns about judicial intimidation and the use of legal systems for political purposes in Russia," High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk denounced in a press release.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called the new conviction "a flagrant injustice." "Putin fears nothing more than those who oppose war and corruption and defend democracy, even from a prison cell. He will not silence critical voices," she wrote on X.

Paris also criticised Navalny's imprisonment "in the strongest possible terms." "We once again call on the Russian authorities to release Mr Navalny immediately and unconditionally, along with all political prisoners," said a spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry.

The United States has also voiced their denunciation of the decision, speaking of "an incorrect conclusion of an incorrect trial." "These are unfounded charges of alleged extremism," a White House spokesman said.

The 47-year-old Navalny was sentenced Friday by a Russian court to an additional 19 years in prison for "extremism." The dissident is already currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for "fraud." Navalny, who narrowly survived a poisoning in 2020, dismisses all the lawsuits against him as politically motivated because he is a major critic of Vladimir Putin's regime.

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