Aleksei Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader, Appears in Court

Aleksei Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader, Appears in Court

Aleksei Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader, Appears in Court

Aleksei Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader, Appears in Court

The prosecution called for three and a half years in prison for Mr. Navalny, minus the amount of time he spent under house arrest related to the case, which was about a year. The prosecutor, Yekaterina Frolova, said Mr. Navalny was guilty of “systematic violations of obligations placed on him by the court.”

Mr. Navalny sparred repeatedly with Ms. Frolova, calling her “an honorable daughter of the regime,” but then adding, “You lie in every word.” He said he was being prosecuted to scare millions of other Russians out of rising up against Mr. Putin.

The choreography of the hearing appeared designed to portray due process being granted to Mr. Navalny. Officials moved the hearing from a courtroom outside Moscow to a bigger one in the city — in order, they said, to allow more journalists to be present.

Two sculpted judicial scales flanked the Russian double-headed eagle above the robed judge. Ms. Repnikova, the judge, peppered the prosecution with pointed questions, probing its arguments. Mr. Navalny was allowed to give his fiery speech, and criticize the judge and prosecutor, with few interruptions. But journalists were barred from filming the proceedings or taking pictures.

The prosecution’s case for sending Mr. Navalny to prison relied heavily on technicalities. A prison service official, Aleksandr Yermolin, read in a soft voice from a stack of papers detailing Mr. Navalny’s alleged parole violations. The prosecution said the violations had begun before Mr. Navalny’s poisoning last August.

At one point Mr. Yermolin cited online posts showing that Mr. Navalny was moving freely across Germany while not reporting for his parole last year. At another point, the prosecutor, Yekaterina Frolova, responded to an argument from Mr. Navalny’s lawyers by taking issue with the day of the week on which the defendant had contacted the parole authorities.

“Jan. 9 was a Thursday, which has nothing at all do to with a Monday,” the prosecutor said.

Mr. Navalny and his lawyers, in a lengthy back-and-forth with the prosecution, insisted that they had properly notified parole officials of his inability to report in person because of his poisoning. Mr. Navalny noted that even Mr. Putin had publicly referred last year to Mr. Navalny’s being in treatment in Germany.


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