A Moscow court has rejected the Kremlin critic’s appeal against the prison camp ruling.
The Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny has to serve several years in prison in a prison camp. His lawyers failed in a Moscow court on Saturday in an attempt to overturn a sentence passed earlier this month. The judge said he did not allow the complaint.
The sentence of three and a half years in a prison camp remains in place. The actual term of imprisonment is likely to be shorter, however, because Nawalny’s lawyers assume that several months of house arrest and earlier imprisonment periods will be credited to him. His team had criticized the process as politically motivated.
The judges accused the 44-year-old of having violated probation conditions in a previous criminal case while he was recovering from an attack with the neurotoxin Novitschok in Germany. Navalny once again described the allegation that he wanted to hide from the judiciary as “absurd” on Saturday. He returned to Russia voluntarily at the end of January. “ The whole world knew where I was.” The judgment had also provoked severe criticism internationally.
Navalny went on to say: «I have the last word so often. Now this process is over – and the next one is coming. And that’s where I’ll have the last word. If someone should decide to publish my last words, it will be a big book. “
Moscow accuses the EU court of interference
The European Court of Human Rights only asked Russia on Wednesday to release Navalny immediately from custody. The 2017 Human Rights Court ruled the judgment in this earlier trial as manifestly inappropriate. Moscow rejected the request as interference in internal affairs.
Meanwhile, the human rights organization Amnesty International wants to hand over a petition to the Kremlin to release Navalny. In addition, almost 200,000 signatures have been collected in several countries around the world, it said. Navalny is being persecuted for peaceful political activities in the fight against corruption and for enforcing his right to freedom of expression.
Two processes in one day
Another trial against Navalny was scheduled for Saturday afternoon – he will have to answer in court twice in a single day. In the second trial he is accused of having insulted a 94-year-old participant in World War II. The verdict is expected on the fourth day of the trial. The public prosecutor’s office demanded a large fine, while Navalny’s lawyer pleaded for an acquittal.
In the past year, Navalny had described protagonists of a propaganda video on the controversial constitutional amendment as “traitors”. The veteran also appeared in it. Navalny invokes the right to freedom of expression. Navalny’s detention almost a month ago sparked mass protests in Russia. More than 11,000 people were arrested. Nawalny’s team recently announced that they want to continue the protests in the spring and summer.
The opposition leader collapsed on August 20 while on a domestic flight. He was first taken to a hospital in Siberia. Two days later he was flown to Berlin for treatment. According to studies by several laboratories, he was poisoned with the warfare agent Novichok. Russia, on the other hand, sees no evidence of poisoning and therefore no reason for an investigation.