The Russian prosecution requested this Tuesday a fine of 950,000 rubles (around 10,600 euros at the current rate) against the imprisoned opponent Alexei Navalny, sued for defamation by a veteran. “Political” prosecutions, according to the accused.
As he was under a three-and-a-half-year suspended prison sentence at the time of the events, the prosecution also requested that the opponent serve this sentence. Another court had already converted, on February 2, this stay into a firm sentence. The anti-corruption activist, in a blue sweater, arrived in the morning at a court in the north of the Russian capital for the third hearing in a libel suit brought by a veteran of the Second World War.
“The prosecutions against Navalny are fanciful and arbitrary”, pleaded for her part his lawyer Olga Mikhailova, “the defense categorically disagrees with the prosecution, there is no element constituting an offense in this case”. The judge’s decision is expected on February 20.
Alexei Navalny, 44, is accused of disseminating “false” and “abusive” information about this veteran who defended in a campaign clip last summer a referendum that strengthened the powers of Vladimir Putin . He had qualified, on a social network, the speakers in this video of “shame of the Nation” and “traitors”.
During the hearings, the opponent multiplied the tense exchanges with the public prosecutor and the judge, denouncing their partiality and their submission to power. In parallel, the justice must examine Tuesday a complaint for defamation lodged against Alexei Navalny for a powerful oligarch close to the Kremlin, Evguéni Prigojine.
Another appeal trial
Russian justice must also consider an appeal by Alexei Navalny who disputes a fine of 3.3 million rubles (37,000 euros at the current rate) that he must pay to a food company in the context of another libel lawsuit.
In 2018, Alexei Navalny’s organization accused the company of selling its products at an overestimated price, following a pattern of corruption, to the Russian National Guard. Sworn enemy of the Kremlin, he was already sentenced on February 2 to two years and eight months in prison for violating a judicial review dating from 2014.
He accuses the authorities of wanting to silence him after having survived an attempted poisoning this summer for which he holds Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible. Navalny’s arrest on January 17, upon returning from five months of convalescence in Germany, sparked repressed protests across the country and more than 11,000 arrests.