On appeal, a Russian court in Moscow rejected a complaint by opposition leader Alexei Navalny against probation. This was announced by one of the judges on Saturday. The Kremlin critic now faces several years in prison in a concentration camp.
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The process has been criticized as politically motivated. Navalny was convicted in early February of violating probation conditions in a previous criminal case. He was in Germany for treatment after being poisoned. After taking home custody and imprisonment into account, he faces three more and a half years in prison and two more years and eight months to serve. Numerous other activities threaten him.
In front of a court in the northeast of the capital, security forces took a stand, a German newspaper reporter said on the site. Another lawsuit against Navalny was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. At trial he was charged with insulting a 94-year-old man who had served in World War II. The public prosecutor’s office demanded a large fine.
The 44-year-old was brought to court early in the morning from pre-trial detention, photos showed. At the beginning of the trial, reporters from the courtroom reported that Navalny was in a good mood. He referred to the European Court of Human Rights seeking Navalny’s release. The judge said: “We will discuss this later.”
Within hours of the prison verdict, Navalny was fined: a Moscow court fined an opposition politician 850,000 rubles (about 9,400 euros) for insulting a World War II veteran. This is more than double the average annual salary in Russia.
Navalny was harshly critical of the video broadcast in the Russian state media last summer. In it, many citizens – including a 94-year-old World War II veteran – campaigned for constitutional reform that helped secure the power of President Vladimir Putin. Navalny insulted those in the clip on Twitter as “traitors”.
As proof that the old man was not a traitor, the judge referred to the Interior Ministry in his nearly hour-long judgment, which did not list him as a traitor or spy. Navalny repeatedly defended his right to freedom of expression, insisting in the video that he had criticized the man as the protagonist and not because of his senior status. The 94-year-old describes himself as a “puppet” in a politically motivated process. (dpa)