Russian court sentences Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to three and half years in jail

A still image taken from video footage shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in handcuffs, who is accused of flouting the terms of a suspended sentence for embezzlement, before a court hearing in Moscow, Russia February 2, 2021. Press service of Moscow City Court/Handout via Reuters TV

MOSCOW (Reuters) - 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 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 Jan. 17 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.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova/Polina Devitt; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn