Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

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RIGA, Latvia — Russia’s most distinguished opposition chief, Alexei Navalny, was placed on trial Monday on extremism prices that might end in his present jail sentences prolonged by many years. The proceedings swiftly turned Kafkaesque.

Navalny is already serving sentences totaling greater than a decade on prices broadly considered as trumped up for political attribution.

Within the new case, he’s accused of main an extremist group — his Anti-Corruption Basis, which battled graft and theft by Russian officers till it was bankrupted by lawsuits introduced by allies of President Vladimir Putin.

The trial was held in an unidentified room within the bowels of Penal Colony Quantity 6 within the Vladimir area, from which media and even Navalny’s dad and mom have been barred.

The sound high quality was so poor and Decide Andrei Suvorov muttered so quietly that Russian unbiased media masking the occasion remotely by way of video in a separate room within the jail might hear nearly nothing, one outlet, Mediazona, reported. Some journalists stood near the video display screen, straining their ears.

After simply 86 minutes of arguments, the video abruptly switched off with out rationalization. Prosecutor Nadezhda Tikhonova referred to as for the trial to be closed to the media, arguing there was a risk to the safety of contributors, with out specifying the character of the risk. It was not instantly clear why the display screen went clean.

Shortly afterward, Vadim Polezhaev, a spokesman for the press service of the Moscow Metropolis Court docket, informed journalists to go away the jail, saying that the decide had closed the trial to media.

Navalny survived a poisoning assault by the Russian state in 2020, based on the U.S. State Division. After recovering, he was arrested upon his return to Moscow in 2021 and jailed for greater than two years on alleged probation violations. Final 12 months, he was convicted of fraud prices and sentenced one other 9 years. Navalny has denied all wrongdoing.

In Russia’s extremely politicized justice system, he faces a hefty extra sentence on the brand new prices of making an extremist neighborhood, incitement to extremism, financing extremism, rehabilitation of Nazism, involving minors in harmful acts and making a nongovernmental group that infringes on residents’ rights.

In a press release on social media, Navalny stated the trial “will significantly add to my sentence.” He stated the court docket was closed as a result of Putin was afraid that to let him converse the reality.

“What’s a very powerful factor about this trial? Not lawlessness, not phone regulation, not the obedience of unscrupulous judges and prosecutors. The principle factor is its type: It’s a court docket inside a jail,” he stated.

Navalny stated Putin was not afraid of jailing the harmless, “however he’s afraid of what I’ll say.”

“He’s afraid of phrases. Not simply mine, after all, which is why Kara-Murza and lots of others have been tried in a closed trial,” he stated, referring to a different distinguished Russian opposition politician, Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was lately convicted of treason and sentenced to 25 years for his criticism of Russia’s battle in opposition to Ukraine.

“In essence, the duty of consolidating and prolonging Putin’s energy is achieved by shutting up those that dare to talk the reality,” Navalny stated.

Greater than 19,500 Russians have confronted prices associated to protests or criticisms of the battle, based on OVD-Information, a Russian authorized rights group.

Navalny, protection attorneys and co-defendant Daniel Kholodny, who’s accused of taking part and financing extremist actions, all strongly opposed the secrecy transfer, arguing that there was public curiosity within the trial and no safety risk.

Final June, Russian authorities banned three Navalny-linked organizations, together with the Anti-Corruption Basis and his political community, branding them as “extremist” in a transfer strongly condemned by Amnesty Worldwide and different international human rights organizations.

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