Russian prosecution requests approximately 11,500 francs in fines against Navalny for defamation

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The Russian prosecution requested a fine of 950,000 rubles on Tuesday (around 11,500 Swiss francs at the current rate) against the imprisoned opponent Alexeï Navalny, sued for defamation by a veteran, “political” prosecution according to the accused.

As he was under a sentence of 3.5 years in prison suspended at the time of the facts, the prosecution also requested that the opponent serve this sentence. Another court had already converted, on February 2, this stay into a firm sentence.

Read also: The Kremlin swells Navalny’s popularity

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”.

Judge’s decision expected on February 20

Alexeï Navalny, 44, is accused of disseminating “false” and “offensive” information about this veteran who had 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 Alexeï Navalny for a powerful oligarch close to the Kremlin, Evguéni Prigojine.

Russian justice must also consider an appeal from Alexey Navalny who disputes a fine of 3.3 million rubles (40,000 Swiss francs at the current rate) that he must pay to a food company in the context of another lawsuit in defamation.

In 2018, Alexei Navalny’s organization accused this company of selling its products at an overestimated price, following a pattern of corruption, to the Russian National Guard. Sworn enemy of the Kremlin, Alexeï Navalny has already been 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. The arrest of Alexei Navalny on January 17, upon his return from five months of convalescence in Germany, sparked repressed protests across the country and more than 11,000 arrests.