Tag Archives: Moscow

Appeal Court upholds Navalny jail sentence.

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Navalny and his supporters say the rulings and several other cases against him are a pretext to silence his corruption exposes and quash his political ambitions.

A Moscow appeal court on Saturday upheld a prison sentence imposed on chief Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny after he returned to Russia from Germany last month.

Judge Dmitry Balashov rejected Navalny’s appeal of the February 2 ruling, which turned a 2014 suspended sentence on embezzlement charges into real jail time.

The judge decided to count six weeks Navalny was under house arrest as part of the time served, so he will now be imprisoned for just over two-and-a-half years in a penal colony.

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Navalny, a 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner who has emerged as President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent, was arrested in January when he returned to Russia after months in Germany recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin.

He was detained for violating parole conditions of the 2014 suspended sentence and it was then turned into a custodial sentence.

Navalny and his supporters say the rulings and several other cases against him are a pretext to silence his corruption exposes and quash his political ambitions.

He was due in court again later Saturday in a another trial where he is accused of defamation for calling a World War II veteran a “traitor” after he appeared in a pro-Kremlin video.

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Prosecutors have called for Navalny to be fined the equivalent of $13,000 in that case.

They also want his 2014 sentence turned into real jail time because the alleged defamation took place while he was serving the suspended term.

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#Newsworthy

Russia successful Navalny’s 2 years, 8 months jail.

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Navalny’s allies have also called for new sanctions against some of Putin’s closest allies and the officials involved in his case.

A Moscow court has sentenced Alexei Navalny to two years and eight months in a prison colony in a landmark decision for Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on the country’s leading opposition figure.

Navalny, who has accused the Russian president and his allies of stealing billions, was sentenced to prison for violating parole from a 2014 sentence for embezzlement. He said the case against him was politically motivated.

The judge subtracted 10 months he spent under house arrest from his original three-and-a-half-year sentence as she delivered the verdict.

The court’s decision makes Navalny the most prominent political prisoner in Russia and may be the most important verdict against a foe of Putin’s since the 2005 jailing of the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

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In a fiery speech from a Moscow city courtroom decorated with portraits of Cicero and Montesquieu ahead of the sentencing, Navalny accused Putin of ordering his assassination and said that the Russian leader’s “only method is killing people”.

He flashed a heart sign with his hands to his wife, Yulia, when he later returned to learn his sentence.

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The Kremlin’s decision to send Navalny to prison came despite the threat of historic street protests and international condemnation from the US government and other foreign leaders. Diplomats from more than half a dozen western countries attended the court.

But the sentencing showed the exhaustion of Russia’s leaders with Navalny, who even from jail released a detailed investigation into a £1bn Black Sea palace allegedly built for Putin’s use.

He was arrested upon returning to Russia last month after surviving in August 2020 a suspected FSB assassination attempt with a novichok poison similar to that used in Salisbury in 2018.

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Russian prison officials had said while Navalny recovered in Germany that they would seek to jail him for violating parole in the 2014 case in an apparent attempt to keep the Kremlin critic in exile, but he flew back all the same.

Russia Opposition Leader, Alexei Navalny jailed for 2 years, 8 months | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News.

“Someone did not want me to take a single step on my country’s territory as a free man. And we know who and we know why – the hatred and fear of one man, living in a bunker, whom I offended by surviving when he tried to have me killed,” he said of Putin.

“His only method is killing people. However much he pretends to be a great geopolitician, he’ll go into history as a poisoner.”

“This isn’t a political rally,” the judge interrupted him at one point. “Let’s not do politics here.”

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The 16-minute speech may be one of the opposition leader’s last public orations in the coming years. Investigators are preparing to bring new charges against Navalny on fraud and other charges that could carry a sentence of another decade in a penal colony if they are brought to trial.

In his remarks, Navalny called on his supporters not to fear the government, saying: “You can’t imprison the whole country.”

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More than 5,000 people were detained in nationwide protests this weekend and senior Navalny aides have been swept up in government raids.

Navalny imprisoned for two years and eight months | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News.

“Locking me up isn’t difficult,” Navalny told the court. “This is happening to intimidate large numbers of people. They’re imprisoning one person to frighten millions.”

He called the court case a “performance”. “This is what happens when lawlessness and tyranny become the essence of a political system, and it’s horrifying,” he said.

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For years, the government had harassed Navalny, holding him under house arrest, jailing his aides and imprisoning his brother for three-and-a-half years in 2014.

But until Tuesday, it had stopped short of giving him a long prison sentence, apparently fearing a backlash.

In 2013, a judge abruptly set Navalny free on parole one day after thousands protested against his five-year prison sentence on the streets outside the Kremlin.

The sudden about-face confirmed what many in the opposition believed: that important court decisions are made in the Kremlin.

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The government’s mood apparently changed following the failed assassination attempt and a deeply embarrassing investigation by Bellingcat, which exposed the attack as the work of an FSB hit squad who had shadowed Navalny around Russia for years.

In a flourish, Navalny managed to elicit a confession from a member of the FSB, the Russian intelligence service that Putin formerly headed.

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Before the verdict, hundreds of police were deployed around the Moscow city court in expectation of fresh protests.

By 5pm, at least 235 people had been arrested, according to the OVD-Info monitor, although the court had yet to deliver a decision.

The hearing was held in an oak-panelled courtroom at a packed Moscow city court, where authorities barred reporters from taking photographs or videos of the proceedings.

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Dressed in a blue hoodie, Navalny joked with his family and needled the judge and prosecutor, who cross-examined him on whether he had missed parole check-ins from earlier in 2020s.

From a glass-windowed holding cell called an “aquarium”, he told his wife: “They showed you in my cell. They say you keep violating public order. You’re a bad girl. I’m proud of you.”

Russian police standing guard near the Moscow city court on Tuesday. Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA

Diplomats at the hearing were chased by state television journalists peppering them with questions about whether they were extending Navalny political support.

Navalny’s allies have also called for new sanctions against some of Putin’s closest allies and the officials involved in his case.

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Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, called the western diplomats’ presence “meddling”.

“It exposes the mean and illegal role of the collective west in attempts to restrain Russia,” she said. “Or is it an attempt to put psychological pressure on the judge?”

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#Newsworthy..

Just in: Over 5,300 ‘detained’ in Russia Pro-Navalny protest.

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The 44-year-old opposition figure is facing charges of violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence and could be jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Russian police detained more than 5,300 people across the country in a massive clampdown on anti-Kremlin protests, a monitor said Monday, as prosecutors backed a request to imprison opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

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On Sunday, thousands of protesters defied government warnings and rallied from Vladivostok to Saint Petersburg in the second weekend of mass demonstrations over the arrest of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent.

Police detain a man during a rally in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on January 31, 2021. – Navalny, 44, was detained on January 17 upon returning to Moscow after five months in Germany recovering from a near-fatal poisoning with a nerve agent and later jailed for 30 days while awaiting trial for violating a suspended sentence he was handed in 2014. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP)

OVD Info, which monitors arrests at opposition protests, said more than 5,300 people had been detained including nearly 1,800 people in Moscow and almost 1,200 in Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second city.

The protests — that saw authorities enforce a rare lockdown of the centre of Moscow — came ahead of a high-profile court hearing that could see Navalny imprisoned for several years.

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The 44-year-old opposition figure is facing charges of violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence and could be jailed for two-and-a-half years.

On Monday, the General Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement it backed a request by the prison service to change Navalny’s suspended sentence to a real one.

“This motion is considered lawful and justified,” the statement said.

Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport in mid-January after flying back to Russia from Germany where he was recovering from an August poisoning with a nerve agent he blames on the Kremlin.

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The anti-corruption campaigner is being held in a high-security detention centre and faces years of potential jail time in several different criminal cases, despite calls from Western governments for his release.

Navalny’s team has urged supporters to gather in front of Moscow’s Simonovsky district court in a show of support for the opposition politician on Tuesday.

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#Newsworthy

COVID-19: Iran expects first batch of Russian vaccine by Feb. 4 – Ambassador

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Iran is fighting the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of Covid-19 with more than 57,800 dead out of over 1.4 million cases.

Iran’s ambassador to Russia said Saturday that Tehran expects to receive the first batch of Moscow’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine by February 4, state news agency IRNA reported.

The news comes just days after Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced the vaccine had been approved by the Islamic republic.

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“A contract for the purchase and joint production was signed yesterday between Iran and Russia,” envoy Kazem Jalali said, quoted by IRNA.

Two more batches are to be delivered by February 18 and 28, he added, without specifying quantities.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier this month banned the use of vaccines made by the United States and Britain, calling them “completely untrustworthy”.

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The country says arch enemy US has blocked its access to vaccines through Washington’s tough sanctions regime.

While food and medicine are technically exempt, international banks tend to refuse transactions involving Iran.

Russia registered the jab — named after the Soviet-era satellite — in August last year, before the start of large-scale clinical trials, leaving some experts wary.

Sputnik V’s developers have since said the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective and several countries outside of Russia have begun administering it, including Argentina.

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Hungary has also said it has reached a deal to buy the vaccine, although it has not been approved by the European Union.

Iran started clinical trials of its own vaccine in late December.

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#Newsworthy

COVID-19: Moscow creates new vaccine ‘sputnik v’

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Moscow has dubbed its new coronavirus vaccine “Sputnik V” after the Soviet satellite, the head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund said Tuesday, after Russia declared itself the first country to develop a vaccine.

Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund which finances the vaccine project, said Phase 3 trials would start on Wednesday, industrial production was expected from September and that 20 countries had pre-ordered more than a billion doses.


#Newsworthy…