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Alexey Navalny to appear in court on Friday for war veteran defamation hearing

Source: RIA Novosti

Alexey Navalny will be appearing in court on Friday, February 5, for a hearing in the criminal case against him for defaming a World War II veteran. Moscow’s Babushkinsky District Court confirmed to RIA Novosti that Navalny will be attending the hearing in person.

The defamation case against Navalny was launched in June 2020, after he called a group of public figures “corrupt hacks” for appearing in an advertisement for Russia’s constitutional plebiscite aired by the state-run media outlet Russia Today. State Investigators maintained that Navalny’s comments “discredited the honor and dignity” of Ignat Artemenko, a World War II veteran who appeared in the video.

The defamation case went to court in August 2020, but the hearings were repeatedly postponed because Navalny was in Germany recovering from an apparent attempt on his life involving a chemical nerve agent.

Navalny’s next hearing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., Moscow time, on Friday, February 5. Though the case is being considered by Magistrate Court Number 321, the hearing will take place at the Babushkinsky District Court due to the large number of requests from journalists seeking to attend the trial.

Navalny is charged with violating article 128.1, section 2 of the Russian Criminal Code, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.

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Alexey Navalny was arrested on January 17, immediately upon returning to Moscow from Berlin, where he spent nearly five months recovering from a chemical nerve agent attack. The next day, a Russian court remanded him in custody for 30 days, pending trial for allegedly violating his parole in the Yves Rocher case. On February 2, a Moscow court revoked Navalny’s probation and sentenced him to two years and eight months in prison.

Navalny’s imprisonment provoked protests across Russia on January 23 and 31. In total, more than 9,000 people were detained throughout the country amid the demonstrations. After Navalny’s sentencing on February 2, more protests took place in Moscow and St. Petersburg — nearly 1,500 people were detained.