The Moscow City Court recognised on Saturday as legitimate the prison sentence that Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny received in the Yves Rocher fraud case but slightly shortened the jail term, factoring in 1.5 months spent under house arrest, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the courtroom.
The judge chose to count six weeks Navalny was under house arrest as part of the time served, meaning he will now be imprisoned for just over two-and-a-half years in a penal colony.
"I don't want to show off a lot, but the whole world knew where I was", Mr Navalny told the judge. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated and the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful.
Speaking before the verdict, Navalny urged Russians to stand up to the Kremlin in a fiery speech mixing references to the Bible and "Harry Potter".
Navalny's arrest and imprisonment have fuelled a huge wave of protests across Russian Federation.
"The government's task is to scare you and then persuade you that you are alone", he said. "Our Voldemort in his palace also wants me to feel cut off", he added, in a reference to President Vladimir Putin. "Otherwise, you're just an inert chunk of randomly assembled molecules drifting wherever the universe blows you".
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny lost his appeal on Saturday against what he said was a politically motivated decision to jail him for almost three years, but said his faith in God and belief in the rightness of his cause was sustaining him. "And sooner or later they'll get it", he said.
"We still hope that our interlocutors' common sense approach to the situation will prevail and we will not go further down the path of sanctions pressure, which has already repeatedly demonstrated its inefficiency", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
Europe's rights court ruled this week that Russian Federation must immediately release Navalny, in a motion swiftly brushed off by the Kremlin. The Strasbourg-based court noted that Navalny has contested Russian authorities' argument that they had taken sufficient measures to safeguard his life and well-being in custody following the nerve agent attack.
A judge is expected Saturday to decide whether to fine Navalny the equivalent of $13,000 for calling a World War II veteran a "traitor" on Twitter previous year.
In a sign of its long-held annoyance with the Strasbourg court's verdicts, Russian Federation a year ago adopted a constitutional amendment declaring the priority of national legislation over global law.
Mr Navalny's arrest and jailing sparked nationwide street protests in Russian Federation, but his allies say they have now paused major demonstrations until the spring.
Navalny appeared in court again later on Saturday for the culmination of a separate slander trial against him.
But he has said his comments were not specifically directed against the veteran, and that the authorities are using the charge to smear his reputation.
Another Moscow court this week rejected Navalny's appeal against a fine of 3.3 million rubles (€36,825, $44,649) that he was ordered to pay a catering company in another defamation lawsuit.
In his statement at the court hearing on Saturday, Navalny, dressed in green pants and a checkered shirt, said that despite his jailing, he did not feel discouraged.