MOSCOW — Aleksei Navalny returned to a Moscow courtroom where the opposition activist and Kremlin critic is on trial for charges of slandering a World War II veteran.
The February 16 proceedings were the latest development in an effort that Navalny and his allies say is a politically motivated campaign aimed solely at keeping him behind bars.
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 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.
In the slander case, prosecutors have accused 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.”
Prosecutors were expected on February 16 to tell the court what punishment they are seeking. Slander under Russian law is punishable by up to 2 years in prison.
World War II veterans are revered by most Russians and criticism of them is generally regarded as socially unacceptable.