Navalny urges Russians from jail to overcome their fear / Putin Resorts to Jailing Journalists for Retweeting Jokes

Navalny, who was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison earlier this week, said in a statement posted on his Instagram account that “iron doors slammed behind my back with a deafening sound, but I feel like a free man. Because I feel confident I'm right. Thanks to your support. Thanks to my family's support."

Navalny, 44, an anti-corruption campaigner who is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most determined political foe, was arrested Jan. 17 upon returning from his five-month convalescence in Germany from a nerve agent poisoning, which he has blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities deny any involvement and claim they have no proof that he was poisoned despite tests by several European labs.

A Moscow court on Tuesday sent Navalny to prison, finding that he violated the terms of his probation while recuperating in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated and the European Court of Human Rights has ruled unlawful. He said his imprisonment was “Putin's personal revenge" for surviving and exposing the assassination plot. “But even more than that, it's a message from Putin and his friends to the entire country: ‘Did you see what we can do? We spit on laws and steamroll anyone who dares to challenge us. We are the law.’”..

A Moscow court ordered the jailing of one of the country’s leading independent journalists, Sergey Smirnov, editor-in-chief of Mediazona. His supposed crime? Retweeting a joke on Twitter. The post included the date of an upcoming rally in support of Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner who was sentenced to almost three years in a penal colony on Tuesday for failing to meet his bail conditions while he was in a coma recovering from a Novichok attack.

Media freedom has long been an issue in Russia and a number of journalists have died in suspicious circumstances but even Putin has not previously resorted to openly arresting journalists without any pretence of justice. “I am just shocked,” Smirnov’s wife Tatiana told The Daily Beast. “First police grabbed my husband in front of our little son’s eyes; then the court ordered his arrest for reposting somebody’s joke.”

The court ruled that sharing the joke was effectively inciting people to join the “illegal” rally protesting about Navalny’s arbitrary arrest. “The accusation is ultimately absurd, my husband did not go to a single rally, he edited Mediazona from home,” she said….

Andrew Roth - The problem is Putin: protesters throng Russia's streets to support jailed Navalny // Russia’s courageous historic protests against Putinism

Navalny’s YouTube video sensation: Putin’s secret palace, and “the biggest bribe in history”.

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