Crime & Justice

Hearing for Navalny’s extremism case delayed

Moscow, May 17 (EFE).- A court hearing for the extremism case against jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny’s political network scheduled for Monday has been postponed until June 9.

Prosecutors seek to permanently ban all activities of Navalny’s movement and have organizations linked to the Kremlin critic designated as extremist.

Ivan Pavlov, one of the Team 29 lawyers representing Navalny, said on the messaging app Telegram the hearing held behind closed doors lasted for only 40 minutes.

Lawyer Maksim Olenichev explained the defense had prepared more than 400-page documents for the hearing.

Last month, Navalny’s regional political network officially suspended operations, according to his top strategist, Leonid Volkov.

“Continuing with the work of Navalny’s network of offices in its current form is impossible: it would immediately be banned for extremism and lead to jail sentences for those who work in the offices and collaborate with them,” Volkov said in a video posted to social media, adding that it was no longer possible to operate under such conditions.

If Navalny’s organization is charged with extremism, members would face prison sentences of up to 12 years, and funders would carry punishment up to 10 years.

Navalny’s health has deteriorated while serving a sentence of 3.5 years in prison for fraud and money laundering offenses — which his team claim are politically motivated — although he will serve only 2.5 years as he spent 10 months under house arrest.

The imprisonment of the opposition leader, who almost died after he was poisoned during a flight to Serbia in August, sparked massive protests across the country in late January, during which thousands of people were detained.

Navalny accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of having ordered the FSB domestic intelligence service to assassinate him.

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