Moscow court rejects Kremlin critic Navalny’s appeal against prison sentence
A Moscow appeal court on Saturday upheld a prison sentence imposed on Alexei Navalny after he returned to Russia from Germany following a poisoning attack, shortening his nearly three-year jail term by just six weeks.
Judge Dmitry Balashov rejected Navalny‘s appeal of the February 2 ruling, which had turned a 2014 suspended sentence on embezzlement charges into real jail time.
The judge decided to count the six weeks Navalny was under house arrest as part of the time served, meaning he will now be imprisoned for just over two-and-a-half years in a penal colony.
A Moscow court on Saturday also convicted Navalny for defamation. Judge Vera Akimova said Navalny was guilty of defaming a World War II veteran who was among a group of Russians Navalny called “traitors” for appearing in a pro-Kremlin video.
Supporters of the outspoken opposition figure say the rulings and several other cases against the 44-year-old are a pretext to silence his corruption exposes and quash his political ambitions.
Navalny was given the nearly three-year sentence on February 2 for breaching parole terms of an embezzlement conviction while in Germany recovering from a poisoning attack that very nearly killed him.
That ruling stemmed from a suspended sentence he was given in 2014 for embezzlement, a ruling the European Court of Human Rights deemed arbitrary.
European court order rebuffed
The 94-year-old veteran at the centre of the separate defamation case appeared in a video that was derided by Navalny for promoting constitutional reforms that passed last year and could allow President Putin to stay in power until 2036.
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…..read more