A Russian court sentenced Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to three and a half years in jail on Tuesday after ruling he had violated the terms of his parole but said that his prison term would be shortened for the time he had served earlier under house arrest.
Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critics, was arrested at the Russian border on 17 January after returning from Germany where he had been recovering from being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent.
Navalny’s allies called on their supporters to immediately protest against the ruling in central Moscow.
Navalny’s lawyer said the opposition politician would appeal against the ruling.
The UN Security Council has dropped plans to hold an informal meeting this week on the plight of detained Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, diplomats said Tuesday.
The session, which ran the risk of causing tension with Russia, was to have been held Wednesday.
One diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that the idea of holding such a meeting “has not been totally abandoned but there will not be anything this week.”
Two other diplomats said there would be no such meeting this week.
Several Security Council members were reluctant to hold the meeting, including European allies of Estonia, a former Soviet republic which had pushed for the session.
It was to have been officially framed as a discussion on Navalny’s poisoning last year, a diplomat said.
But some council members probably would have brought up the current situation of Navalny, who was arrested 17 January after returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from a near-fatal poisoning with a nerve toxin.
Navalny was on trial now for allegedly violating the terms of a suspended sentence dating back to 2014 and could be sentenced to several years in prison.
Russia has argued at the UN that the Navalny affair is a domestic issue and rejected any foreign interference in it.