The Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has returned to court docket for a trial on slander modifications he calls politically motivated.
Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most outstanding critic, was jailed this month for nearly three years for parole violations he mentioned had been trumped up. The west has condemned the case and is discussing possible sanctions on Russia.
Within the slander case, Navalny is accused of defaming a second world conflict veteran who took half in a promotional video backing constitutional modifications final 12 months that allow Putin run for 2 extra phrases within the Kremlin after 2024 if he chooses.
Navalny described the individuals within the video as traitors and corrupt lackeys. He accuses authorities of utilizing the slander fees to smear his status.
Veterans of what Moscow calls the nice patriotic conflict are revered by most Russians and criticism of them is considered socially unacceptable and insulting.
State prosecutors had been anticipated to inform the court docket on Tuesday what punishment they had been in search of for Navalny, state media reported.
Though the slander cost, if confirmed, is punishable by as much as two years in jail, Navalny’s lawyer has mentioned his consumer can’t face a custodial sentence on this occasion 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 choose within the case agrees with that evaluation. Lesser punishments embody a tremendous or neighborhood service.
Navalny’s arrest and jailing sparked nationwide avenue protests in Russia, however his allies say they’ve paused critical demonstrations till the spring.