Russian dissident Alexey Navalny goes on trial on new embezzlement charges, facing up to 10 years in prison if he is found guilty.

Russian investigators accuse Navalny of stealing for personal use more than $4.7 million of donations.
Russian investigators accuse Navalny of stealing for personal use more than $4.7 million of donations. (Reuters)

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny faces fresh charges in a case that could see his jail time extended by more than a decade.

A new trial against Navalny began on Tuesday inside the penal colony outside Moscow where he is being held. 

In a video link Navalny appeared in a prison uniform at the hearing, an AFP journalist reported.

It showed him embracing his wife, Yuliya Navalnaya, while guards stood on either side of them. She had demanded access to the close-door proceedings a day earlier.

Navalny, who has spent a year behind bars after surviving a poison attack that he blames on the Kremlin, is accused of fresh fraud charges.

He is currently serving a two-and-a-half year sentence, but the new charges could see his time behind bars significantly extended.

READ MORE: Russia orders media outlets to delete Navalny-related content

'Sham trial'

The hearing of Moscow's Lefortovsky district court is taking place inside the maximum security prison where he is being held in Pokrov, some 100 kilometres east of Moscow.

The new fraud case against Navalny was launched in December 2020, while the 45-year-old was recovering in Germany after narrowly surviving a nerve agent poisoning.

Investigators accuse Navalny of stealing for personal use more than $4.7 million of donations that were given to his political organisations. 

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Amnesty International described the hearing as a "sham trial, attended by prison guards rather than the media."

"It's obvious that the Russian authorities intend to ensure that Navalny doesn't leave prison any time soon," it said in a statement on Monday.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies