MOSCOW, February 12 – RIA Novosti. The justice of the peace of the capital district Yuzhnoye Medvedkovo dismissed more than 20 questions from Alexey Navalny and his lawyers in the case of libel against a veteran, RIA Novosti correspondent reports from the courtroom.
The blogger addressed these questions to the witness Alexei Lukin, who wrote a statement to the Investigative Committee because of Navalny's comment about Ignat Artemenko.
Navalny was interested in the political views of the witness, as well as his opinion on the problem of freedom of speech on the Internet. The judge considered almost all the questions of the defendant to be irrelevant to the case.
Lukin himself said that he wrote a statement, considering the words of the blogger slander: “The word” traitor “in relation to a civilian can still be considered an insult, but in relation to a veteran it is slander.”
During the interrogation, Navalny's lawyers tried to find out whether Lukin understands the difference between libel and value judgment, but the judge dismissed these questions as irrelevant.
A criminal case was opened against Navalny because of his comments on a video in which veteran Ignat Artemenko spoke in support of changes to the Russian Constitution. At the end of August, the court decided to suspend the process due to Navalny's illness – at that time he was in Germany, but in mid-January he returned to Russia and was detained, after which the hearings were resumed.
Navalny is charged with libel (part 2 of Article 128.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and faces a fine or forced labor. After the signing by Russian President Vladimir Putin of the law on increasing criminal liability for libel under this article, a harsher punishment is possible – imprisonment – but it does not apply to cases initiated earlier.
Navalny does not plead guilty. In the pre-trial detention center, he is awaiting the entry into force of the decision to replace his suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case with 3.5 years in prison. According to his defense estimates, if the decision cannot be challenged, the blogger will spend 2 years 8 months in the colony.