MOSCOW, February 16 – RIA Novosti. A paddy wagon from the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center, accompanied by two traffic police vehicles, arrived at the Babushkinsky court in Moscow, where on Tuesday the criminal case against Alexei Navalny on libel against the Great Patriotic War veteran Ignat Artemenko will continue, RIA Novosti correspondents report.
Three paddy wagons left the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center three hours before the start of the meeting in the Babushkinsky Court of Moscow in an exit format. One of them, with license plate 2481, accompanied by two traffic police cars, has already entered the court. In it, presumably, was Navalny.
Police officers have been at the court since early morning, no actions in support of the accused have been noticed near the building.
A criminal case against Navalny was opened because of his comments on a video in which Artemenko spoke in support of changes to the Russian Constitution. At the end of August 2020, 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 sessions 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. He does not plead guilty. After the signing by Russian President Vladimir Putin of a 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.