Published: Sat, February 20, 2021
Science | By

Alexei Navalny’s appeal rejected by Moscow court

Alexei Navalny’s appeal rejected by Moscow court

A Moscow appeal court on Saturday upheld a prison sentence imposed on Alexei Navalny after he returned to Russian Federation from Germany following a poisoning attack, shortening his almost three-year jail term by just 1.5 months.

Prosecutors have asked the court to hand him a fine of 950,000 rubles, around €10,600.

State media has used the case to depict Navalny as a traitor, while Navalny himself has used his court appearances to trash the Russian authorities and legal system.

Navalny, 44, was arrested in January after returning home from Germany, where he had been recovering from a near-fatal poisoning that he and Western governments have blamed on the Kremlin.

The original sentence was 3.5 years but, with the amount of time he has already spent under house arrest, amounted to around two years and eight months.

In the past, Moscow has abided by the ECHR's rulings awarding compensations to Russian citizens who have contested verdicts in Russian courts, but it never faced a demand by the European court to set a convict free.

Judge Dmitry Balashov rejected Navalny's appeal of the February 2 ruling, which turned a 2014 suspended sentence on embezzlement charges into real jail time. Authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown, detaining about 11,000 people, many of whom were fined or given jail terms ranging from seven to 15 days.

Navalny's arrest and jailing sparked nationwide street protests in Russian Federation, but his allies - most of whom are either under house arrest or overseas - have now declared a moratorium on major demonstrations until the spring.

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.

"One day of this trial costs much more than the veteran got in the last four years from the very state that dares to claim it cares about veterans", Navalny said at the defamation hearing Saturday.

Prosecutors in a separate trial have called for the Kremlin critic to be fined the equivalent of $13,000 for calling a World War II veteran a "traitor" on Twitter a year ago, with a verdict also expected Saturday.

Navalny also addressed the judge and the prosecutor, arguing that they could have a much better life in a new Russian Federation.

Navalny and his supporters say the rulings and several other cases against him are a pretext to silence his corruption exposes and quash his political ambitions. "Our Voldemort in his palace also wants me to feel cut off", he added, in a reference to President Vladimir Putin.

"To live is to risk it all".

"Just imagine how wonderful life would be without constant lying", he said.

Russian Federation has come under increasing Western pressure to release Navalny since he was detained on arrival at a Moscow airport in January. "The rest of the order remains unchanged", the court ruling read.

The 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. Russian Federation responded to the order by the Strasbourg, France-based court - of which Moscow is a member- by calling the ruling unlawful.

In a reflection of its simmering irritation with the European court's verdicts, Russian Federation a year ago adopted a constitutional amendment declaring the priority of national legislation over global law.

Later on Saturday, Navalny will also face proceedings in a separate case on charges of defaming a Second World War veteran.

Like this: