Two weeks ago, a suspended sentence against the Kremlin critic Navalny was converted into a prison sentence. Now a court rejected the appeal against the judgment – and only shortly thereafter convicted Navalny of insult.
The Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny has to pay a heavy fine in addition to his several years imprisonment in the prison camp. That was the verdict of a Moscow court only hours after its lawyers failed on Saturday to overturn a judgment passed earlier in the month.
The judge said he did not allow the complaint.
The second judgment, a fine of 850,000 rubles (around 9,400 euros), was imposed by the court because Navalny allegedly insulted a veteran of the Second World War. This means that he has to pay about twice the average annual salary in Russia. Navalny had sharply criticized a video broadcast in the Russian state media last summer. In it, several citizens – including a now 94-year-old veteran of the Second World War – campaign for a constitutional amendment that also served to secure the power of President Vladimir Putin. Navalny insulted the people in the clip on Twitter as “traitors”.
Navalny: Veteran is “puppet”
As proof that the old man is not a traitor, the judge referred in her almost hour-long verdict to the Interior Ministry, which lists him neither as a traitor nor a spy. Navalny had repeatedly defended his right to freedom of expression and stressed that he had criticized the man as the protagonist in the video and not because of his veteran status. He describes the 94-year-old as a “puppet” in a politically motivated process.
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.
International criticism of prison camp judgment
Navalny took the judge’s verdict calmly. Video footage showed him laughing. He is charged with violating probation conditions in previous criminal proceedings while he was recovering from an attack with the neurotoxin Novitschok in Germany.
The ruling had also caused severe criticism internationally.
The whole world knew where I was.” Navalny was arrested at the airport on his return to Moscow and has been behind bars ever since. According to a report by the state news agency Novosti, he could be taken to a prison camp next week. An exact day was initially not mentioned.
Human Rights Court calls for release
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. For this purpose, almost 200,000 signatures have been collected in several countries around the world, it said. Navalny was persecuted for peaceful political activities in the fight against corruption and for enforcing his right to freedom of expression.
The y’ll soon assign him a personal judge and personal police officer.”
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.