The main adversary of the Kremlin, Alexei Navalni, will be sent in the next few days to a prison colony, most likely working in the opinion of his lawyers, where he will have to stay for two years, five months and fifteen days. In the other case tried this Saturday for “defamation” Against a 94-year-old World War II veteran, Navalni has been sentenced to pay a fine of 850,000 rubles (9,550 euros) and could also face a new criminal case for “offenses” against the judge and the prosecutor. He has insisted at all times on the “political” nature of the persecution he suffers and considers it completely “rigged”.
Judge Dmitri Balashov of Moscow’s Bábushkinski Court yesterday rejected the request of the lawyers of the country’s first dissident to release him. In this way, Balashov agreed with the Símonovski Tribunal, whose ruling was issued on February 2, as to the fact that the sentence I had suspended for an alleged case of “fraud and money laundering” related to the firm Yves Rocher, it became real and it was carried out in jail.
The judge also denied the request for Navalni’s release filed on Wednesday by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). However, you will benefit from a small penalty discount. Of the two years and eight months of the sentence passed on February 2 (the initial one was three and a half years), the house arrest completed between December 30, 2014 and February 17, 2015, in addition to the long month that he has already been in preventive detention since he returned from Germany, on January 17.
As in the recent trials, the Police adopted reinforced security measures around the Bábushkinski Court building to prevent protests. Fifty journalists were accredited to the judicial session and ten diplomats from European countries attended.
Legal counsel Olga Mijáilova immediately took the floor to request the release of the opposition leader as required by the European Court of Human Rights and insist that it did not violate mandatory inspections to which he had to undergo during the period of the suspended sentence to be in Germany to receive treatment after his poisoning last year.
It was the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia (FSIN) that accused him of failing to attend the summons and requested that the suspended sentence be converted into a real prison sentence. The prosecutor, Ekaterina Frolova, assured that Navalni «committed seven violations of the conditions of the trial period before hospitalization and two within 30 days after admission «.
In his intervention in court after hearing the sentence, the opposition leader quoted the Bible, the Gospel of Saint Matthew: «Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice because they will be satisfied«. He said that all he wants for Russia is justice, freedom and also “the right to be happy.”
This Saturday the hearing for the accusation of “defamation” brought against him by the relatives of the former combatant in the great fight against Nazi Germany, Ignat Artiómenko, was also held in the same court, whom, according to them, Navalni offended with statements ” false “and” insulting. ” The prosecutor, also Frolova, had asked that a fine of 950,000 rubles is imposed, but in the end it remained at 850,000, a record in Russia for such a foul. The digital publication Open Media maintains that, since 2018, the fines for defamation had not exceeded 100,000 rubles (about 1,120 euros).
Artiómenko participated in a propaganda video of the constitutional amendments promoted by President Vladimir Putin and asked to vote in favor of them in the referendum held last summer. The reform includes a section that will allow the current Russian president stand for reelection in 2024 and 2030. The opposition politician called those who appeared in the filming “national shame” and “traitors”.
So the judge, Viera Akímova, decided proven the crime of defamation, since, according to the accusation, Artiómenko “did not commit any kind of treason.” Akímova also denied, as Navalni’s lawyers tried to prove, that the war veteran was manipulated by his family and the Russian authorities and pointed out that “his testimony was fully conscious and he did it himself without any kind of conditioning or pressure.”
Frolova sent the Investigation Committee (SK in its acronym in Russian) a request to investigate whether, during the trial, Navalni offended her and the judge, which he ridiculed and recommended to enroll in a course to improve their legal knowledge. If the SK so considers it, a new criminal case could be opened against him, which could lead, at the very least, to his being sent to a “severe regime” prison. The Investigation Committee has also accused the opposition leader of “fraud” for, according to the investigations carried out, using the money from the donations received for his Fund to Fight Corruption (FBK) for “personal expenses”.