15 Mar 2022 13:11

Prosecutor demands 13 years of imprisonment for Navalny

POKROV, Vladimir region. March 15 (Interfax) - A public prosecutor has demanded that Moscow's Lefortovsky District Court sentence opposition activist Alexei Navalny to 13 years in a penitentiary on counts of fraud and contempt of court.

"I hereby demand that Navalny be sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment and two years of restrictions," prosecutor Nadezhda Tikhonova said as the sides exchanged arguments in court on Tuesday.

The prosecutor also demanded that Navalny be fined 1.2 million rubles.

The prosecutor asked the court to bear in mind the "socially dangerous actions" of Navalny and information about his personality, health and family status.

She said that Navalny committed crimes, being "overwhelmed with a sense of one's own exclusivity."

Once the defense rests, Navalny will be allowed to make a final statement, and the court will recess to consider a sentence.

The Lefortovsky District Court is trying Navalny at a visiting session on the premises of the Pokrov Penitentiary.

Navalny was indicted on four counts of large-scale fraud and contempt of court.

According to the bill of indictment, Navalny established a network of his associates Leonid Volkov, Roman Rubanov and others, who raised donations from the general public for operatIng the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK, designated as extremist and banned in Russia), the Fund for the Protection of Citizens' Rights (FZPG, designated as extremist and banned in Russia), and Navalny Staffs (designated as extremist and banned in Russia), and for the 2018 presidential race.

The prosecutors said that, instead of the statutory activity of his NGOs, the donations were spent by Navalny on extremism and personal needs.

They also said that Navalny was raising funds for his presidential campaign despite being convicted and deprived of passive election rights, "thus misleading donors about his real objectives."

According to investigators, Navalny and his accomplices stole and spent at their own discretion the donations from four citizens totaling 2,693,503 rubles.

The Russian Investigative Committee said earlier that Navalny and his accomplices used for personal gain over 356 million rubles out of 588 million donated to non-profit organizations led by the opposition activist, yet the current case mentions the defrauding of only 2.7 million rubles.

In addition, Navalny is held in contempt of court.

According to the investigators, the opposition activist "neglected generally accepted norms, and seeking to humiliate [a judge] and impede normal legal proceedings," insulted justice of the peace Vera Akimova, who was hearing his case of slandering WWII veteran Ignat Artyomenko in 2021.

In particular, the bill of indictment referred specifically to Navalny's comments addressed to Akimova including, "Are you gramophone or a judge?"; "If you interrupt me, I will remove you from the courtroom"; "You constantly talk like a parrot"; "Let me address you not as your honor, but Obersturmbannfuehrer," etc.

It also says that Navalny insulted prosecutor Yekaterina Frolova in the case of slandering the veteran and the veteran's grandson Igor Kolesnikov.

Navalny pleaded not guilty.

He said that the charges brought against him were actually a normal political activity.

The Lefortovsky District Court starting hearing Navalny's case at the Pokrov Penitentiary on February 15, 2022.

Navalny has been tried before, including on counts of embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and slander. In 2021, Navalny was charged with establishing an extremist network and an organization encroaching on the identity and rights of citizens.

He is now serving three and a half years in a penitentiary, consistent with the sentence handed down by Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court in 2014 under the so-called Yves Rocher case.

At the beginning of 2021, as soon as Navalny returned from Germany after his treatment for having allegedly been poisoned, the suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case was replaced with real jail time at the demand of the Federal Penitentiary Service due to repeat violations of the restrictions and obligations placed on Navalny.