#AceNewsReport – Feb.02: Many riot police, including some on horses, are deployed outside the court. There have been dozens of arrests: The anti-Putin campaigner could face up to three and a half years, in a case that has sparked nationwide protests: Mr Navalny, 44, calls the embezzlement conviction fabricated:
Navalny: Moscow court hears case for jailing Putin critic just happening now …..more soon
BBC News: 59 minutes ago
The Russian OVD-Info monitoring group reports that more than 120 people have been detained near the court.
EPAOne of Tuesday’s arrests: Police have cracked down hard on Navalny supporters
Mr Navalny’s return to Russia on 17 January triggered mass protests in support of him, many of them young Russians who have only ever experienced President Vladimir Putin’s rule.
Mr Navalny has been accused of breaking probation rules which required him to report regularly to Russian police over the 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement. His lawyers say it is absurd he is accused of breaching probation, as the authorities knew he was recovering in Berlin after a nerve agent attack that nearly killed him.
Addressing the court on Tuesday, Mr Navalny said: “I fell into a coma, then came round, left hospital, contacted my lawyer and sent you a document stating where I was… Of course I wasn’t at home! What more could I do?”
He accuses Mr Putin of running an administration riddled with corruption, and recently released a YouTube video featuring an opulent Black Sea palace which, he alleged, was a Russian billionaires’ gift to the president. More than 100m people have watched it.
Some protesters on Sunday brandished gold-coloured toilet brushes – a symbol of their anger about the palace.
On Saturday Arkady Rotenberg, a billionaire businessman close to Mr Putin, said he owned the palace and had bought it two years ago.Alexei Navalny says the latest case against him was fabricated
The OVD-Info group said police detained more than 5,000 people at pro-Navalny protests in 86 cities across the country on Sunday. For a second weekend, crowds defied bitter cold and a massive deployment of riot police.
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OVD-Info says it is an independent Russian media project documenting police action against various groups. It gets crowdfunding in Russia and its donors include the Memorial human rights group and the European Commission.
ReutersNational Guard members helped police to block streets near the court
Mr Navalny is already serving a 30-day sentence in connection with the embezzlement case, which he denounces as politically motivated.
He spent five months recovering from the Novichok poisoning – an attack he blamed directly on President Putin. The Kremlin has denied any involvement, and disputes the expert conclusion that Novichok was used.
Just before the court hearing began, Mr Navalny praised his wife Yulia, who is attending in court. She was fined 20,000 roubles (£190; $260) on Monday for having joined the pro-Navalny protesters at an “unauthorised” rally.
“They said that you had seriously violated public order and were a bad girl. I’m proud of you,” Mr Navalny said, quoted by Reuters news agency.
In recent days police have arrested many of Mr Navalny’s top aides, who assist him in his Anti-Corruption Network (FBK).
#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Feb.02: 2021:
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