Moscow court fines opposition leader Navalny in defamation case

  • Moscow court fines opposition leader Navalny in defamation case

Moscow court fines opposition leader Navalny in defamation case

The Kremlin said on Friday it hoped the United States and European Union would fall back on common sense and resist calls to impose new sanctions on Moscow over its treatment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

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. The Moscow City Court's judge on Saturday only slightly reduced his sentence to just over 2 1/2 years in prison, ruling that a month-and-half Navalny spent under house arrest in early 2015 will be deducted from his sentence.

Navalny was ordered on February 2 to serve the time in a penal colony for breaching his parole terms while he was in Germany recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin.

The judge made a decision 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.

"Political life will be rich and multifaceted", Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Since Mr Navalny was detained early this year, there have been large anti-Kremlin protests across Russian Federation calling for him to be released, and many of his supporters have been detained. Authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown, detaining about 11,000 people, many of whom were fined or given jail terms ranging from seven to 15 days.

The judge made a decision to count six weeks Mr Navalny was under house arrest as part of the time served.

That ruling stemmed from a suspended sentence he was given in 2014 for embezzlement, a ruling the European Court of Human Rights deemed arbitrary.

Navalny said he was an atheist before but has come to believe in God, adding that his faith helped him face his challenges.

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

He said he had no regrets about returning to Russian Federation, that his belief in God helped sustain him, and that "strength was in truth". "And sooner or later they'll get it", he said. He was being treated for a near-fatal nerve agent attack, that he has blamed on Russian president, Vladimir Putin, The BBC reported.

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.

The Russian Justice Ministry warned in a statement carried by the Tass news agency that the ECHR's demand referencing the rule would represent a "crude interference into the judicial system" of Russia and 'cross the red line'.

In the past, Moscow has abided by the ECHR's rulings awarding compensations to Russian citizens who have contested verdicts in Russian courts, but it never faced a demand by the European court to set a convict free.

In a reflection of its simmering irritation with the European court's verdicts, Russian Federation a year ago adopted a constitutional amendment declaring the priority of national legislation over worldwide law.

But he has said his comments were not specifically directed against the veteran, and that the authorities are using the charge to smear his reputation.

What was Navalny accused of?

A series of theatrical hearings in the case ended Tuesday with Navalny asking if the judge could recommend a recipe for pickles, since it is "pointless to talk about the law" with her.