Kremlin critic Navalny goes on trial on slander charges

WION Web Team
Moscow, Russia Published: Feb 05, 2021, 04:42 PM(IST)

Navalny Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Navalny's detention on his return to Moscow sparked mass demonstrations across the country that saw police arrest 10,000 protesters.

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny Friday went on trial on charges of defaming a World War II veteran -- close on the heels of him being handed a nearly three-year prison term.

Legal pressure has been mounting on the 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner and his allies since he returned in mid-January to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from a poisoning attack with the nerve agent Novichok. He was ordered by a Moscow court this week to serve two years and eight months in prison for violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence on embezzlement charges he says were politically motivated.

On Friday, Navalny faced defamation charges for describing people -- including the 95-year-old veteran -- who appeared in a pro-Kremlin video as "the shame of the country" and "traitors" in a June tweet. The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

The court was not expected to pronounce a verdict Friday.

Navalny's detention on his return to Moscow sparked mass demonstrations across the country that saw police arrest 10,000 protesters.

Navalny had, on Thursday, called on his supporters to fight fear and liberate Russia from a leadership he described as a "handful of thieves", while his aides said more protests were planned for later this year.

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