Navalny campaigner jailed on extremist charges requests presidential pardon

Lilia Chanysheva. Photo: SOTA

Lilia Chanysheva. Photo: SOTA

The imprisoned former head of Alexey Navalny’s headquarters in the Volga region city of Ufa has reportedly requested a pardon from Vladimir Putin in a letter shared by state-aligned media outlet RT on Monday.

Lilia Chanysheva, who is serving a 9.5 year sentence for “calling for extremism” and participating in “an extremist community”, cited her parents’ illness, saying that she “wished to devote herself to her family”, in a handwritten letter addressed to Putin.

A source close to Chanysheva confirmed the letter’s authenticity to Novaya Gazeta Europe, adding that she had previously discussed asking for a pardon with her lawyer Ramil Gizatullin.

In the letter Chanysheva also argued that she had paid a 400,000 ruble fine (approximately €4,000) and that she had ceased activities in Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s Ufa headquarters months before she was detained at a rally protesting Navalny’s arrest in November 2021.

Navalny’s regional headquarters were disbanded in June 2021 after Navalny’s network was designated extremist by the Moscow City Court, alongside the Anti-Corruption Foundation and the Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation, both also related to Navalny.

Chanysheva’s letter comes a month after a Russian court extended Chanysheva’s sentence from 7.5 to 9.5 years after the prosecutor’s office argued that her original sentence had been “too lenient” given that she had “incited” local residents to take to the streets and protest.

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