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Alexey Navalny’s lawyers challenge ruling in war veteran defamation trial

Source: TASS

Lawyers representing jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny have filed an appeal against his sentence in the “war veteran defamation” case, reports the Russian state news agency TASS, citing spokespeople for Moscow’s Babushkinsky District Court. 

The court has yet to schedule a date for the appeal hearing.

On February 20, a Moscow court fined Alexey Navalny 850,000 rubles (about $11,500) for insulting WWII veteran Ignat Artemenko. Navalny’s supposed speech crime was saying that the people who appeared in a promotional video last year supporting the government’s constitutional reforms were “corrupt bootlickers” and “traitors” — Artemenko briefly appeared in the video.

Two days later, Russian lawmaker Irina Yarovaya announced proposed amendments to draft legislation that would make insulting World War II veterans a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. (Yarovaya is the same politician who spearheaded controversial “counter-terrorism” legislation in 2016 that broadly expanded police powers and data collection).

Also on February 20, the Moscow City Court upheld a previous decision to convert Alexey Navalny’s probation in the Yves Rocher case into a real prison sentence. The court did, however, reduced Navalny’s prison sentence by six weeks, taking into account the time he spent under house arrest in 2014–2015. Navalny will now spend two and a half years in a penal colony.

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