Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny returned to courtroom on Friday for a trial on slander expenses he calls politically motivated amid mounting tensions between Russia and the West over his jailing.
Navalny, President Vladimir Putin‘s most distinguished critic, was jailed last week for almost three years for parole violations he mentioned have been trumped up. The West has condemned the case and is discussing attainable sanctions on Russia.
Russian International Minister Sergei Lavrov mentioned earlier on Friday that Moscow was able to sever ties with the European Union if the bloc hit it with painful financial sanctions. Moscow has accused the West of hysteria over the case.
Within the slander case, Navalny stands accused of defaming a World Battle Two veteran who took half in a promotional video backing constitutional reforms final 12 months that allow Putin run for 2 extra phrases within the Kremlin after 2024 if he desires.
Navalny described the individuals within the video as traitors and corrupt lackeys. He accuses authorities of utilizing the slander expenses to smear his popularity.
After an hour-long break, the decide refuses to recuse herself. The prosecutor reads a letter from Ignat Artemenko, the 94-year-old veteran, who says he will not take part additional after feeling unwell throughout final week’s listening to and blames Navalny for his ailing well being.
— max seddon (@maxseddon) February 12, 2021
Though the cost, if confirmed, is punishable by as much as two years in jail, his lawyer has mentioned that Navalny can not face a custodial sentence as a result of the alleged crime was dedicated earlier than the legislation was modified to make it a jailable offence.
It stays unclear whether or not the decide within the case agrees with that evaluation.
Safety at Friday’s courtroom listening to was heavy. Police and state bailiffs carrying physique armour and carrying weapons have been deployed contained in the courtroom and round it and the state prosecutor arrived for the listening to with three bodyguards.
Navalny’s arrest and jailing has sparked nationwide street protests in Russia.
His allies plan to stage a brand new sort of protest on Sunday and are urging his followers to collect for quarter-hour in residential courtyards throughout the nation, shining their cell phone torches and lighting candles.