Russia’s leading opposition figure is serving a combined sentence of 11 and a half years for fraud and contempt of court.
Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny says investigators have opened an “absurd terrorism case” against him, possibly leading to an additional 30 years in prison.
Navalny appeared via video link before a Moscow court on Wednesday as part of an “extremism” case.
“They have made absurd accusations, according to which I can face 30 years in prison,” he said in a statement posted by his supporters on social media.
“I insist that the attempt to close the process is not only an attempt to prevent me from being introduced to the case, but also to ensure that no one finds out,” he said.
Navalny added that there was no point in claiming that he committed terrorism while in prison.
The state news agency TASS reported that Russian investigators had also placed 11 people on an “international wanted list” in a case related to Navalny.
Earlier this month, Russian investigators linked the former politician to the death of popular military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, who was killed by a bomb in a St Petersburg cafe.
But Navalny’s allies have denied any connection to Tatarsky’s death.
A figure of Nelson Mandela
Russian authorities consider Navalny and his supporters “extremists” with ties to the United States CIA intelligence agency that wants to destabilize Russia.
Many of his supporters, who regard the imprisoned politician as a figure of Nelson Mandela, have fled the country.
The former lawyer, who rose to prominence over 10 years ago over allegations of large-scale corruption, is currently serving combined sentences of 11 and a half years for fraud and contempt of court on charges he says have been raised to silence him .
Navalny was admired by the Russian opposition for voluntarily returning to Russia in 2021 from Germany, where he had been treated for an attempt to poison him with a nerve agent in Siberia.
The Kremlin has denied killing him.
More recently, Navalny reportedly suffers from a mysterious illness while in prison, which has caused him to lose 8 kg in two weeks.
His spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, claimed the weight loss was due to a slow-acting poison that prison doctors injected him with.
“We wouldn’t rule out Alexey Navalny being slowly poisoned and slowly killed at this point so that he draws less attention,” Yarmysh said in a Twitter post.