A prominent Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, lost an appeal against a court ruling issued against him for violating the terms of temporary release after being sentenced in a suspended case.
Earlier this month, a Russian court sentenced Navalny to three and a half years in prison due to a previous ruling issued against him in 2014, after he was found guilty of violating his conditional release. The period he spent under house arrest in that year will be deducted when the judgment was issued.
Authorities arrested Navalny last month after he returned to Russia from Germany, where he was being treated for a deadly nerve gas attack.
The Russian dissident blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the attack and said the charges against him were fabricated.
The Kremlin denies any responsibility for Navalny’s poisoning incident.
Navalny is currently facing a charge of violating court rulings issued against him in suspended 2014 on charges of embezzlement, and Navalny was scheduled to regularly review the Russian police and inform them of his whereabouts, activities and movements, but he did not.
The Russian dissident gave a speech in court citing the Bible and the Harry Potter fictional series, and said the charges against him were “ridiculous” because he was unable to review Russian police while he was receiving treatment for the nerve gas attack.
“The whole world has known my place,” he added. “Once I recovered, I bought a plane ticket and went home.”
But the judge rejected his claim and he will return to the criminal prison where he is serving his sentence.
Navalny is due to appear in court again on Saturday, accused of defaming a former World War II fighter who praised President Putin.
The European Court of Human Rights, of which Russia is a member, says Navalny should be released in fear for his life. But Russia said the European court’s invitation was “illegal”.
Navalny’s supporters see the accusations as an attempt to silence him and thwart his political ambitions.
Navalny has always been a thorn in President Putin’s side, accusing him of financial corruption and claiming that he owns a luxury mansion on the Black Sea.
Navalny’s allies seek to challenge the pro-Kremlin parties in this year’s parliamentary elections, and President Putin warned on Thursday of external interference in Russia and the elections.
European foreign ministers are due to meet on Monday, to discuss imposing more sanctions on Russia on this issue.
There are divisions among the members of the European Union, as Germany is pushing ahead with the Nord Stream 2 project, which will transport gas directly from Russia to Germany.
Poland and the Baltic states oppose the project. On Friday, Lithuania said it should be suspended temporarily until after Russia’s parliamentary elections in September.