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Navalny’s appeal over ‘fraud’ and ‘contempt of court’ rejected

Андрей Карев , специально для «Новой газеты Европа»
Андрей Карев , специально для «Новой газеты Европа»

The Moscow City Court has rejected an appeal from Alexey Navalny, Russia’s opposition leader, against a nine-year prison sentence he is serving for fraud and contempt of court, a newsperson for Novaya Gazeta Europe reports from the courtroom.

“The last thing I wish to say: a few months ago Ms Repnikova [the judge who revoked Navalny’s probation and substituted it with a prison term] sent me a message through a lawyer we both know that she regrets being part of the trial; she said I was a brave man. And then, after a short spell, she died of COVID. I address my message to the judges today: if you wish to inform me that you regret being part of this trial in the future, please, be cautious,” Navalny said.

Navalny’s defence reckons that he should be acquitted due to the fact that his verdict is illegitimate and baseless. In particular, Olga Mikhailova, the lawyer, has noted that the verdict goes against the norms of international law since the Lefortovsky court had dismissed charges against Navalny regarding the Kirovles and the Yves Rocher cases earlier. “The European Court of Human Rights ruled out that the law had been breached numerous times during the trial and ordered Russia to pay out a compensation fee, which Russia did,” she said.

She also says that the trial procedure was breached since according to the general rules for determining territorial jurisdiction, the case is subject to consideration at the place where the crime was committed, while the place of the alleged crime is outside the jurisdiction of the Lefortovsky court, Mikhailova said. Moreover, the trial was organised in a prison in Pokrov instead of Moscow, which is also a violation of the trial procedure.

Speaking about the contempt of court, Mikhailova stated that Navalny had not been trying to offend Vera Akimova, the judge and other opponents during his defamation trial. He did not use any obscene vocabulary, instead, he was emotional about the incompetence of the judge and the prosecutor due to the fact that his defenders were put into a disadvantaged position comparing to the prosecution, while the judge committed numerous procedural breaches.

Vadim Kobzev, another defender, said Navalny’s case lacked criminal event and corpus delicti. He also applied for Navalny’s acquittal and noted that Navalny was sent to high-security prison for a repeated offence, however, he had committed his alleged “fraud” before his Yves Rocher probation was substituted for a prison term in January 2021.

Prosecutor Nadezhda Tikhonova objected to the defence, saying that their arguments were legally invalid. She demanded that the verdict be left unchanged, and the appeals of the defence not be allowed.

In March, the Lefortovsky court conducted an off-site trial in the Pokrov Penitentiary where Navalny had been contained and sentenced him to spend nine years in a high-security prison and a fine of 1.2 million rubles (€20,000).

The court ruled out that Navalny, alongside his associates Leonid Volkov and Roman Rubanov, stole the donations people sent them to fund Navalny’s 2018 presidential campaign and to help fight corruption.

Navalny was also punished for “offending Vera Akimova, the judge” who held a court session where Navalny was accused of defamation against Ignat Artyomenko, a WW2 veteran. During the session, Navalny threatened to “evict the judge from the courtroom” and addressed her as “a filthy toad” and “an Obersturmbannführer”. He also offended Yekaterina Frolova, the prosecutor, and Igor Kolesnikov, the veteran’s grandson. Navalny was fined 850,000 rubles (€13,500).

#Alexey Navalny #Navalny #court #ep
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