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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.

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

2 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.