The activist’s look got here shortly earlier than EU overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell met with Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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).”
“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.
CNN’s Mary Ilyushina reported from Moscow and Laurs Smith-Spark wrote from London. Schams Elwazer and James Frater contributed to this report.