Days after jailed for violating parole, Alexie Navalny again in courtroom, this time in defamation case
Prosecutors accuse Navalny of slandering a World Conflict II veteran in social media posts final yr. The posts criticised individuals who supported constitutional amendments that allowed Putin to stay in energy till 2036
Moscow: Alexei Navalny, the jailed Russian opposition chief, confronted a brand new felony trial Friday — this time on prices of slandering a struggle veteran — whereas his supporters equipped for what they anticipate to be a yearslong battle towards the Kremlin.
The beginning of the brand new trial got here three days after a unique courtroom sentenced Navalny to 2 years and eight months in jail for violating his parole on a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Europe’s high human rights courtroom later dominated was politically motivated.
The trial, during which Navalny is just not anticipated to face extra jail time, gave the impression to be a automobile for the Kremlin to tie his staff up additional within the courts whereas additionally giving the state information media a contemporary alternative to tar the opposition chief’s picture.
Prosecutors accuse Navalny of slandering a World Conflict II veteran in social media posts final yr. The posts criticized individuals who assist President Vladimir Putin’s constitutional amendments authorized in July that enable him to stay in energy till 2036.
“The Kremlin wants headlines that say, ‘Navalny slandered a veteran!’ ” Navalny mentioned in courtroom Friday, in accordance with the Dozhd tv channel.
Navalny survived a nerve-agent poisoning in Siberia in the summertime and recovered in Germany, accusing Putin of getting tried to kill him. Then he returned to Moscow final month regardless of dealing with near-certain arrest.
His arrival set off the most important nationwide anti-Kremlin protests of current years and introduced an unlimited crackdown on the opposition, with greater than 10,000 arrests within the final three weeks. The Kremlin’s present of drive means that Putin sees the longtime gadfly as a big risk — and that the president won’t draw back from bringing the federal government’s huge sources to bear on stifling dissent.
The Kremlin denies any involvement in Navalny’s poisoning and says that detentions at unauthorized protests are justified and lawful.
Navalny can nonetheless attraction his jail sentence within the earlier trial, and his allies are working to arrange their supporters for a protracted combat forward.
Certainly one of Navalny’s high aides, Leonid Volkov, mentioned his camp wouldn’t be calling for extra road protests within the coming weeks as a result of it wanted to regroup earlier than nationwide parliamentary elections which might be scheduled for September.
“It is a path that would take a number of years, however that is our plan,” Volkov mentioned. “We have to protect our candidates for the election, and we have to protect our marketing campaign places of work.”
The Navalny camp’s technique is to construct up stress on the Kremlin and chip away at Putin’s legitimacy, with the expectation that eventually, his authority will collapse amid discontent in most people and within the ruling elite.
Navalny’s allies overseas, together with Volkov, are additionally more and more participating with Western governments within the hopes of persuading them to impose sanctions on folks near Putin.
“If we hold going out each week, we’ll get 1000’s extra arrested and lots of extra crushed up, and the work of the marketing campaign places of work will likely be paralyzed,” Volkov mentioned. “We are going to get Alexei out of jail, at the start, utilizing foreign-policy strategies.”
The European Union’s overseas coverage chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles, was in Moscow to fulfill with Russia’s overseas minister, Sergey Lavrov, on Friday. Borrell has known as Navalny’s jail time period “politically motivated and towards Russia’s worldwide human rights obligations.”
Russia counters that Western nations are interfering in Russia’s home affairs by calling for Navalny’s freedom.
Navalny, in a letter from jail that his staff revealed late Thursday, known as on his supporters to maintain up the combat.
“The iron doorways slam shut behind me with a deafening clang, however I really feel like a free man,” Navalny wrote. “They’ll maintain onto energy, utilizing it for private acquire, solely by counting on our concern. However we, having overcome concern, can free our homeland from a bit of bunch of thieving occupiers.”
Anton Troianovski c.2021 The New York Occasions Firm
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