Updated Feb 20, 2021 - World

Russian judge orders Navalny to pay fine for defamation after rejecting appeal

Picture of Alexei Navalny behind a glass

Alexei Navalny. Photo: Moscow City Court\TASS via Getty Images

A Moscow court on Saturday ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to pay a fine in a defamation case, hours after another court rejected his appeal against his 2.5-year prison sentence.

The state of play: The court ordered Navalny to pay approximately $11,500 after he called a 94-year-old World War II veteran and others featured in a pro-government video "corrupt stooges," "people without conscience" and "traitors," AP reports.

  • Navalny rejected the charges and said they were "part of official efforts to disparage him," AP writes.

Earlier Saturday, a Russian judge rejected the opposition leader's appeal against the prison sentence he received for allegedly violating his parole when he was in Germany recuperating from an assassination attempt.

Why it matters: The two rulings are likely to increase tensions between the Kremlin and Western countries that have condemned the case against Navalny and are discussing sanctions against Russia, Reuters reports.

Details: Navalny's prison sentence is the result of a 2014 embezzlement conviction that he describes as fabricated.

  • "The government’s task is to scare you and then persuade you that you are alone," Navalny said, per AP.
  • He added that he was unable to report to Russian authorities while in Germany due to his poor health following the nerve agent attack. “I wasn’t hiding,” he said. “The entire world knew where I was.” He emphasized that he was not hiding and returned to Russia as soon as he could.
  • After rejecting the appeal, the court shortened Navalny's sentence by a month and a half, considering he was under house arrest from December 2014 to February 2015.

Worth mentioning: The European Court of Human Rights ruled earlier this week that Navalny should be released due to "the nature and extent of risk to the applicant's life," according to AP.

  • The Russian government rejected the ruling and said it was "inadmissible" meddling in the country's affairs.
  • "In the past, Moscow has abided by the ECHR’s rulings awarding compensations to Russian citizens who have contested verdicts in Russian courts, but it never faced a demand by the European court to set a convict free," AP writes.
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