Russia: Alexey Navalny in court docket as EU overseas affairs chief Josep Borrell visits Moscow

Russia: Alexey Navalny in court docket as EU overseas affairs chief Josep Borrell visits Moscow

Navalny accused prosecutors of a “shameless” pursuit of “fabricated” circumstances and stated he didn’t perceive the newest allegations in opposition to him, which relate to feedback he made final June on social media. He had criticized a video by state media channel RT during which varied individuals expressed help for controversial modifications to the Russian structure. Veteran Ignat Artemenko, 94, was amongst them.

The activist’s look got here shortly earlier than EU overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell met with Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

Borrell, the EU’s excessive consultant for overseas affairs, was amongst quite a lot of EU leaders to sentence Russian authorities for imprisoning Navalny and for detaining 1000’s of people that protested his therapy.

His resolution to go forward with the journey to Russia as deliberate — regardless of the protests and continued imprisonment of Russia’s most distinguished opposition determine — with no pre-conditions has enraged critics of the EU’s relationship with Russia.

“If the EU is severe about having a dialogue with Russia and never simply with a bunch of thugs round Putin, then Borrell ought to have made assembly with Navalny a pre-condition,” stated Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russia-based opposition politician who has been poisoned twice previously 5 years.

Talking alongside Lavrov, Borrell stated he had referred to as on Russia to launch Navalny, who was sentenced to 2 years and eight months in jail, and to launch an investigation into his poisoning.

A handout photo from the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry shows Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell during their meeting in Moscow on Friday.

“Whereas we absolutely respect Russian sovereignty, and its personal duty concerning the success of its worldwide commitments, the European Union considers that points associated with the rule of regulation, human rights, civil society and political freedom are central to a standard future, each for the European Union and Russia,” Borrell stated.

He added that relations between the European Union and Russia have, over the previous few years, “been marked by basic variations and lack of belief.”

Lavrov in flip criticized sanctions on Moscow, saying that EU-Russia relations had gone by means of “tough occasions because of unilateral and illegitimate restrictions that the EU have imposed beneath false pretenses.”

He stated it was essential that Russia and EU “confirmed the intent to help channels of dialogue, particularly on these points the place we have now diverging views.” And he warned that “the additional deterioration of relations is fraught with detrimental penalties.”

Defamation declare

Navalny’s defamation trial had been because of resume on January 20 however was postponed after his arrest on the airport on January 17, moments after he returned to Moscow from Germany.

The opposition chief had been recovering in Berlin after falling in poor health on August 20 from publicity to military-grade Novichok on a aircraft heading from Siberia to Moscow. Navalny blames his poisoning on Russian safety companies and on President Vladimir Putin himself, accusations that the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

At first of the listening to, Navalny requested the court docket for half an hour to get acquainted with the case and confer along with his attorneys. The court docket stated he had had since August to get acquainted with the case, to which Navalny replied: “I had a whole lot of different stuff to do in August.”

The Kremlin's crackdown on Alexey Navalny risks turning him into a martyr

Navalny continued to ridicule the authorized course of and demand that the veteran, in his 90s, be permitted to take off his masks and lie down. The veteran appeared on the listening to by way of a video hyperlink from his residence.

Requested by the prosecutor if he understood the costs, Navalny replied “No, I do not know something about Artemenko, besides that his kin are promoting him out.”

Navalny is accused of breaking Russia’s libel regulation in his social media feedback final June on the RT video, which additionally featured distinguished Russian cultural and sporting figures. The modifications to the structure, which have been backed in July 1 referendum, paved the best way for Putin, who has dominated for 20 years, to stay president till 2036.

In December, the penalty for defamation was modified to incorporate potential jail time. However on the time of the alleged offense, these discovered responsible might solely be fined as much as one million rubles (about $13,300) or ordered to hold out neighborhood service.

Talking Friday, Navalny accused Russian courts of being “corrupt” and claimed the case in opposition to him had been introduced not by investigators however by “the PR individuals of Russia In the present day (RT).”

The people who let Putin get away with persecuting Navalny

“Circumstances are all the time fabricated in opposition to me, however the authorities have issues when circumstances go to court docket,” he stated. “It’s clear to everybody there that the reality is on my facet.”

Navalny was sentenced to jail on Tuesday for failing to report back to parole officers following his poisoning final summer season and thereby breaching the phrases of a suspended sentence for embezzlement in a 2014 case. The European Court docket of Human Rights has dominated that that case was politically motivated.

The Kremlin critic ridiculed claims he broke his parole circumstances, declaring that he was in a coma after which in ICU in Germany, and denounced President Vladimir Putin as “Putin the poisoner.”
On Thursday it was revealed {that a} prime physician on the Russian hospital the place Navalny was handled instantly after his poisoning final summer season has died.
Sergey Maximishin, who was the deputy chief doctor of the Omsk emergency hospital, “immediately” handed away on the age of 55, in keeping with a press release launched by the hospital.

CNN’s Mary Ilyushina reported from Moscow and Laurs Smith-Spark wrote from London. Schams Elwazer and James Frater contributed to this report.

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