(Moscow) The Kremlin’s main rival, Alexei Navalny, was sentenced twice on Saturday to life imprisonment, but his appeal was reduced to two and a half years and “defamation”.
The 44-year-old rival and anti-corruption activist, known for investigating the fortunes of Russia’s elites, is now facing his first long prison sentence of nearly a decade with authorities and is in danger of being transferred to the labor camp.
Alex Navalny, who returned to Russia in January from a recovery in Germany after being poisoned by President Vladimir Putin, was arrested shortly after his arrival. On February 2, he was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.
On Saturday, a Moscow judge reduced the sentence to a month and a half, taking into account the length of time the rival had spent under house arrest.
At a special hearing, Mr Navalny was fined 850,000 rubles (approximately $ 14,500) for “slandering” a World War II veteran in one of his videos.
In the end, the 44-year-old anti-corruption activist faces up to two and a half years in prison. The prison sentence was commuted to 2014 for fraud for violating a judicial review.
The Bible and Harry Potter
At his first hearing that day, with a smiling face, the opponent denied the allegation, saying he had never wanted to escape Russian authorities by going to Germany and warned him to come back.
“I bought a ticket and told everyone I was coming home […] This is absurd, ”he told the judge.
Prosecutor Elizaveta Frolova retaliated, defying the law “openly and fearlessly”.
“Our country is built on injustice,” Navalny said before sentencing. Calling himself a believer, he also quotes from the Bible: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” ”
He quotes an excerpt from Harry Potter on the “importance” of not “feeling alone” because the enemy of the famous young magician is Voldemort.
At his second hearing, he once again demonstrated a defiant attitude and joked behind his glass cage.
“Why are you all so sad?” ”, He explained, as he tried to make ice cream at the detention center or made les ragas.
“You insult and insult the veterans by using it as a puppet,” he had previously denied.
ECHR should be released
A Moscow court spokesman told AFP on Friday that prison services were now free to transfer an opponent to a labor camp.
A legacy of the Soviet Union, most prison sentences in Russia are served in prison camps, sometimes all away. Inmate work is usually mandatory in sewing or furniture making workshops.
Opposition counsel indicated that he intended to challenge the sentence on appeal.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the sentence would not change Russia’s “rich and plural” political landscape ahead of the legislative elections in September.
When a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) activist sought his release this week, he argued that his life was in danger. This decision was immediately rejected by Moscow.
Alexei Navalny, imprisoned in January led to three days of repressive demonstrations, denouncing policies established from the outset.
According to him, the Kremlin wants to put him in jail for silencing him, after failing to poison and kill him last summer, Moscow has denied it.
Other cases against Mr. Navalny are pending. Investigation for fraud, 10 years in prison, especially targets him.
The European Union and the United States have called for his release, but his aides have called on the West to grant him Russian officials close to Vladimir Putin.
Moscow sees this as “intervention” and threatens retaliation against Europeans.
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