MOSCOW, February 12 – RIA Novosti. Defense of Alexei Navalny during a meeting in the Babushkinsky court in Moscow began to present their evidence in the case of libel against a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, the RIA Novosti correspondent reports from the courtroom.
At this stage, the prosecution first presented the evidence. Navalny's lawyers began by voicing the conclusion of expert Alexander Baranov – he concluded that there was no slander in Navalny's words about the veteran.
To familiarize the prosecutor with the materials presented by the defense, a break was announced for 15 minutes.
A criminal case was opened against Navalny because of his comments on a video in which veteran Ignat Artemenko, along with other members of the public, spoke out 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.