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Prosecutor seeks $13,000 fine in Navalny defamation case

By AFP - Feb 16,2021 - Last updated at Feb 16,2021

MOSCOW — A Russian prosecutor on Tuesday asked a Moscow court to fine opposition figure Alexei Navalny 950,000 rubles ($13,000/10,600 euros) for allegedly defaming a 94-year-old veteran.

The prosecution also asked for a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence Navalny received in 2014 to be converted into real jail time as the alleged defamation occurred during the suspended sentence.

Another Moscow court earlier this month already converted the suspended sentence to jail time over Navalny allegedly violating the terms of the suspended sentence while recovering from a poisoning attack in Germany.

A Moscow district court was on Tuesday hearing the final arguments in the defamation case against Navalny, who referred to the World War II veteran and others who appeared in a pro-Kremlin video as "traitors".

Navalny took part in the hearing from inside a glass cage for defendants. Wearing a blue hoodie, the 44-year-old anti-graft campaigner frequently smiled and paced inside the glass cell, an AFP journalist reported.

His lawyer Olga Mikhailova insisted the charges were "contrived and arbitrary".

After the final arguments were delivered, the judge adjourned the hearing to February 20.

Another Moscow court on Tuesday was scheduled to hear a libel case against Navalny launched by Kremlin-linked businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The 59-year-old businessman, nicknamed "Putin's chef" because his company Concord catered for the Kremlin, is seeking 5 million rubles in compensation from Navalny.

Later in the day, a court will also hear Navalny's appeal against a fine of 3.3 million rubles that he was ordered to pay a food company in another defamation lawsuit.

Navalny was jailed immediately after returning from Germany to Moscow in January, sparking two consecutive weekends of nationwide protests demanding his release.

At least 10,000 people were detained in a police crackdown on demonstrators.

On Sunday several hundred female activists formed a human chain in central Moscow in a show of support for Navalny's wife Yulia and other women caught up in the crackdown.

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