A Russian court on Friday sentenced Ksenia Fadeyeva, who led jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s now-banned organisation in the Siberian city of Tomsk, to almost a decade in prison, her supporters said.

This is the latest in a string of heavy sentence against Russia’s opposition, with the Kremlin doubling down on the repression of civil society since launching a military operation in Ukraine in 2022.

“The ‘judge’ Khudyakov has ordered a nine-year sentence against Ksenia Fadeyeva” for extremism, her supporters’ Telegram channel said.

“Of course, the defence will appeal to the highest court,” it added.

Fadeyeva headed Navalny’s political office in Tomsk, where the opposition leader was poisoned in August 2020 on a visit ahead of elections.

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Fadeyeva was elected to the Tomsk city legislature in 2020, a move hailed as a victory for the Russian opposition against President Vladimir Putin’s rule.

But authorities labelled the group an “extremist organisation” in 2021, which opened up its members and supporters to prosecution.

Many of Navalny’s allies left, but Fadeyeva refused to flee and was detained in December 2021 on charges of organising “an extremist” group.

Moscow has used laws on “terrorist” and “extremist” bodies to hand out years-long jail sentences to critics, including Navalny himself.

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Navalny galvanised huge nationwide protests in Russia before he was jailed in 2021 on fraud charges after returning from Germany, where he was recovering from the poison attack.

He saw his sentence extended to 19 years on charges of extremism in 2023, and was recently transferred to a harsher colony in Russia’s Arctic.

Several regional heads of the Anti-Corruption Foundation have been jailed.

Among them was Lilia Chanysheva, Navalny’s ally in the central Bashkortostan Republic, who was handed seven and a half years in prison this summer.

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