Russian oppositions Navalny to be charged with libel

Russian oppositions Navalny to be charged with libel
Alexey Navalny Photo: Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

According to the politician, the charges are associated with a 2016 case.

Alexey Navalny made a post on his website saying that they were going to charge him in a criminal case that had been initiated in 2016 under part 5 of Art. 128.1 of the Criminal Code (“Libel coupled with the prosecution of a person for committing a grave or especially grave crime”).

 “This morning, a MIA investigator called my lawyer and said that I had to come over today and I would be charged in another criminal case,” he said.

The case was initiated on a statement Pavel Karpov, ex-Interior Officer, after the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) had exposed him as the owner of elite real estate items and cars, “in quantities that are by no means affordable to an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, even one with the highest salary.” A case was opened and Navalny was called in for questioning; his house was searched.

According to the politician, the case was used "to take away my phones, computers and other equipment and look through them." “After they checked the computer, the case was on pause for two years. Even the statute of limitations ended. Now they got into the closet, took it back out, and today I will officially get charged”, the oppositionist said.

According to the political leader, Art. 128.1 means they will not arrest him, since it only provides for fines. “But who the hell knows how that intricate and inventive legal machine actually works in that head of [President Vladimir] Putin,” Navalny concluded.

Part 5 of Art. 128.1 of the Criminal Code provides for a fine of up to 5 million rubles ($75.600) or up to 480 hours of compulsory work.

Experts told Vedomosti that Navalny could be charged with several counts of violation of the rules for holding public events (Art. 212.1). The politician was jailed for 20 days at the end of September; the record was made under part 4 of Art. 20.2 of the Administrative Code (violation of the procedure for holding a mass event, resulting in injury to human health or property) for the September 9 rally against the pension reform. This was the third administrative case instituted against Navalny over the past six months. In 2014, Art. 212.1 became part of the Criminal Code. It criminalizes the repeated violation of the procedure for organizing or holding a riot, rally, demonstration, procession or picket, given there are more than two administrative offenses under Art. 20.2 of the Administrative Code within 180 days. The article provides for up to five years in prison.

In 2014, the municipal deputy of Moscow’s Babushkinsky district, Alexey Lisovenko, filed a libel lawsuit against Navalny (part 1 of Art. 128.1 of the Criminal Code). Lisovenko sued Navalny for calling him a “drug addict” on Twitter, while the politician was under house arrest and twittering was prohibited. The magistrate court of district 327 for Babushkinsky sentenced Navalny to a fine of 300.000 rubles ($4.500).

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