Science

Moscow court fines opposition leader Navalny for defamation

Moscow court fines opposition leader Navalny for defamation”

Putin critic Alexei Navalny has lost his appeal against a almost three-year jail term after a Moscow judge defied calls from Europe's top human right's court to free him.

The ruling came hours after another judge rejected the top Kremlin critic's appeal over his prison sentence for violating the terms of his probation.

Mr Navalny had asked Moscow City Court to overturn the sentence and set him free.

Navalny was arrested last month upon returning from Germany following treatment for poisoning with what many Western countries say was a military-grade nerve agent.

The judge decided however to count six weeks Navalny was under house arrest as part of the time served, so he will now be imprisoned for just over two-and-a-half years in a penal colony.

The verdict came even as the country faces a top European rights court's order to free Navalny.

On February 16, the European court of human rights (ECHR) ruled that Russian Federation risked breaching the European Convention on Human Rights if it did not release Navalny immediately, according to Bloomberg.

Navalny's arrest and jailing sparked nationwide street protests in Russian Federation, but his allies - most of whom are either under house arrest or overseas - have now declared a moratorium on major demonstrations until the spring.

Navalny's case has galvanized the opposition movement in Russian Federation, sparking waves of protest in cities and towns across the country in January.

"One day of this trial costs much more than the veteran got in the last four years from the very state that dares to claim it cares about veterans", Navalny said at the defamation hearing Saturday.

Navalny was accused of defaming a World War II veteran who appeared in a video previous year advocating removing presidential term limits, which would allow Putin to stay in power beyond 2024.

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Navalny also addressed the judge and the prosecutor, arguing that they could have a much better life in a new Russian Federation. "Our Voldemort in his palace also wants me to feel cut off".

The arrest sparked large protests across the county that saw more than 10,000 people detained, while the European Union threatened to impose new sanctions on Russian Federation.

Protests continued for several weeks after Navlany's jailing, but his supporters now say demonstrations have been paused until the Spring.

"Just imagine how wonderful life would be without constant lying", he said.

Navalny has called that case, and others against him, politically motivated.

In a ruling Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Russian government to release Navalny, citing "the nature and extent of risk to the applicant's life".

The court noted that Navalny has contested Russian authorities' argument that they had taken sufficient measures to safeguard his life and well-being in custody following the nerve agent attack.

The Russian government has rebuffed the ECHR's demand, describing the ruling as unlawful and "inadmissible" meddling in Russia's affairs. This court decision was rejected by officials in Moscow. Russian authorities might now use that provision to reject the ECHR's ruling.

Another Moscow court this week rejected Navalny's appeal against a fine of 3.3 million rubles (€36,825, $44,649) that he was ordered to pay a catering company in another defamation lawsuit.

"You'll burn in Hell for all of this", he said.



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