RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Autor)
MOSCOW -- Prosecutors have demanded that the Kremlin critic and opposition activist Aleksei Navalny be fined 950,000 rubles ($13,000) for allegedly slandering a World War II veteran.
The demand was made in a Moscow court February 16 during the latest proceedings against Navalny, whose allies have called the trial a politically motivated sham.
Officials accuse Navalny of defaming a war veteran who took part in a Kremlin-organized promotional video. Navalny mocked the people in the video, calling them "corrupt lackeys and traitors."
World War II veterans are revered by most Russians and criticism of them is generally regarded as socially unacceptable.
The judge in Moscow's Babushkinsky district court did not immediately rule on the prosecutors' demand, and instead adjourned the trial until February 20.
Earlier this month, Navalny was ordered to prison for nearly 3 years after a judge ruled he had violated parole while he was recuperating in Germany from a near-fatal nerve-agent poisoning.
Navalny's appeal of that ruling, in the Moscow City Court, is also scheduled for February 20.
Navalny's jailing, and the judge's prison order, sparked protests across Russia.
Many Western countries have condemned both his jailing and his poisoning, which has been blamed on Russian security agents.
Navalny and his main organization, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, have been hit with fines and civil lawsuits in the past, in what appeared to be efforts to bankrupt them and put them out of business.
Copyright (c) 2010-2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.