Moscow court docket rejects opposition chief Navalny’s enchantment

A Moscow court docket on Saturday rejected Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny’s enchantment in opposition to his jail sentence, even because the nation confronted a prime European rights court docket’s order to free the Kremlin’s most outstanding foe.

Talking earlier than the decision, Navalny urged Russians to face as much as the Kremlin in a fiery speech mixing references to the Bible and “Harry Potter.”


A decrease court docket sentenced Navalny earlier this month to 2 years and eight months in jail for violating phrases of his probation whereas recuperating in Germany from a nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusation.

Navalny, 44, an anti-corruption crusader and President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic, appealed the jail sentence and requested to be launched. The Moscow Metropolis Court docket’s choose on Saturday solely barely lowered his sentence to only over 2 1/2 years in jail, ruling {that a} month-and-half Navalny spent beneath home arrest in early 2015 can be deducted from his sentence.

Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny gestures as he stands in a cage within the Babuskinsky District Court docket in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photograph/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The activist’s arrest and imprisonment have fueled an enormous wave of protests throughout Russia. Authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown, detaining about 11,000 individuals, a lot of whom had been fined or given jail phrases starting from seven to fifteen days.

Talking earlier than the decision, Navalny referenced the Bible in addition to “Harry Potter” and the animated sitcom “Rick and Morty” as he urged Russians to withstand strain from the authorities and problem the Kremlin to construct a fairer and extra affluent nation.


“The federal government’s process is to scare you after which persuade you that you’re alone,” he stated. “Our Voldemort in his palace additionally needs me to really feel minimize off,” he added, in a reference to Putin.

“To dwell is to threat all of it,” he continued. “In any other case, you’re simply an inert chunk of randomly assembled molecules drifting wherever the universe blows you.”

Navalny additionally addressed the choose and the prosecutor, arguing that they may have a significantly better life in a brand new Russia.

“Simply think about how great life can be with out fixed mendacity,” he stated. “Think about how nice it could be to work as a choose when nobody would be capable to name you and provide you with instructions what verdicts to difficulty.”

He insisted that he was unable to report back to the authorities consistent with his probation necessities whereas he was convalescing in Germany after his poisoning, emphasizing that he returned to Russia instantly after his well being allowed.

“I wasn’t hiding,” he stated. “All the world knew the place I used to be.”


Navalny stated he was an atheist earlier than however has come to consider in God, including that his religion helped him face his challenges. He stated he believed the Bible saying that those that starvation and thirst for righteousness are blessed, and that he felt no remorse in returning house.

A police van carrying the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, left, escorted by road police vehicles arrives at the Babushkinsky district court prior to the start of his trial in Moscow, Russia, early Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

A police van carrying the Russian opposition chief Alexey Navalny, left, escorted by street police automobiles arrives on the Babushkinsky district court docket previous to the beginning of his trial in Moscow, Russia, early Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photograph/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

“Despite the fact that our nation is constructed on injustice and all of us face it, we additionally see that hundreds of thousands of individuals need righteousness,” Navalny instructed the court docket. “They need the righteousness and ultimately they are going to have it.”

Russia has rejected Western criticism of Navalny’s arrest and the crackdown on demonstrations as meddling in its inner affairs.

In a ruling Tuesday, the European Court docket of Human Rights ordered the Russian authorities to launch Navalny, citing “the character and extent of threat to the applicant’s life.” The Strasbourg-based court docket famous that Navalny has contested Russian authorities’ argument that they’d taken adequate measures to safeguard his life and well-being in custody following the nerve agent assault.

The Russian authorities has rebuffed the Strasbourg-based court docket’s demand, describing the ruling as illegal and “inadmissible” meddling in Russia’s affairs.

Previously, Moscow has abided by the ECHR’s rulings awarding compensations to Russian residents who’ve contested verdicts in Russian courts, but it surely by no means confronted a requirement by the European court docket to set a convict free.

In an indication of its long-held annoyance with the Strasbourg court docket’s verdicts, Russia final yr adopted a constitutional modification declaring the precedence of nationwide laws over worldwide regulation. Russian authorities may now use that provision to reject the ECHR’s ruling.


In a while Saturday, Navalny will even face proceedings in a separate case on fees of defaming a World Struggle II veteran. Navalny, who referred to as the 94-year-old veteran and different individuals featured in a pro-Kremlin video “corrupt stooges,” “individuals with out conscience” and “traitors,” has rejected the slander fees and described them as a part of official efforts to disparage him.

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