(Bloomberg) -- Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny lost his appeal against a new 9-year prison sentence and will be transferred to a high-security prison in a move that his supporters say is aimed at isolating President Vladimir Putin’s top critic even further.

Navalny, 45, who was already serving a 2 1/2 year-sentence that the European Court of Human Rights called politically motivated, was convicted in March of fraud and contempt of court. He was due to have been set free next year.

The Kremlin foe assailed the war in Ukraine in a video-link from behind prison bars with the Moscow appeal court on Tuesday and said Putin’s regime will “burn in hell.” Navalny is currently being held in a jail about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Russian capital.

Russia has cracked down further on dissent since the start of its invasion of Ukraine in February, labeling those who publicly oppose the war as traitors. The authorities banned Facebook and Instagram as extremist and blocked or shut down independent media.

A human rights activist who’s uncovered abuses in the Russian prison system, Vladimir Osechkin, said the strict-regime penal colony about 300 kilometers from Moscow where the opposition leader will serve his time is used “to house ‘difficult’ inmates from all over Russia to torture them and break their spirits,” in an interview with a Navalny YouTube channel. 


©2022 Bloomberg L.P.