Saturday, 27 February, 2021


Kremlin Critic Navalny Faces Court Hearing, Could See 3.5 Years In Prison

Alexei Navalny Russia Protests Police officers with a mini van search a person coming out of a nearby metro as Navalny's trial begins
Bennie Garza | 03 February, 2021, 09:03

Navalny has been in detention since he was arrested upon landing in Moscow just over two weeks ago after returning to Russian Federation for the first time since recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that has been linked to the Kremlin.

Navalny's allies called on their supporters to immediately protest against the ruling in central Moscow.

In this handout photo provided by Moscow City Court, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands in the cage during a hearing in the Moscow City Court.

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has denounced a Moscow court that is considering whether he should be sent to prison for years. Outside a nearby metro station large numbers of police mini vans awaited new detainees and police officers randomly searched people coming out of the metro.

Tuesday's hearing opened under a heavy security presence, with riot police securing the court building and cordoning off the general area with police vehicles, trucks and vans.

"Can you explain to me how else I was supposed to fulfill the terms of my probation and notify where I am?" he said from his glass enclosure in the courtroom.

Describing the United States as "deeply concerned", Blinken said that Navalny was entitled to rights under the Russian constitution and said Moscow "has global obligations to respect equality before the law and the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly".

Since then, thousands of people have come out for two consecutive weekends to protest in support of him across dozens of cities across Russian Federation, defying huge police deployments ordered to disperse them.

"The United States is deeply concerned by Russia's actions towards Aleksey Navalny", Blinken wrote.

Navalny also duped one of the agents into revealing that he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok applied to his underwear.

An investigation by the Bellingcat website found that Mr. Navalny was trailed by a team of operatives from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) - including poison and chemical weapon specialists - for at least three years before the August attack, beginning shortly after Mr. Navalny announced that he meant to challenge Mr. Putin for the presidency.

OVD Info, which monitors arrests at opposition protests, said more than 5,300 people had been detained.

"They are putting one person behind bars to scare millions", he said.

The probe was published alongside a YouTube video report that has garnered more than 100 million views.

Putin insisted that neither he nor his relatives own any of the properties mentioned in the video, and his longtime confidant, construction magnate Arkady Rotenberg, claimed that he owns it.

In 2017, Navalny's probation period was extended until the end of 2020, because he took part in unsanctioned protests.

The jailing of Navalny and the crackdown on protests have stoked global outrage, with Western officials calling for his release and condemning the arrests of demonstrators.

Russian Federation has dismissed USA and European Union criticism as meddling in its domestic affairs and said Navalny's current situation is a procedural matter for the court, not an issue for the government.

"A Russian citizen sentenced by Russian court in accordance with Russian laws". Wouldn't you mind your own business, gentlemen?

"Such a bad girl, I'm proud of you", Navalny said shortly before his hearing began.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian Federation is ready for dialogue about Navalny, but sternly warned it wouldn't take Western criticism into account.

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