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Alexei Navalny: Russian opposition leader back in court on slander charges

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands in a cage during a hearing on his charges for defamation, in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia. Feb. 5, 2021.,
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands in a cage during a hearing on his charges for defamation, in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia. Feb. 5, 2021.,   -   Copyright  AP/Babuskinsky District Court
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A Moscow court will on Friday resume a trial against jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on charges of defamation.

Navalny appeared at the Moscow's Babushkinskiy District court on charges of slandering a World War II veteran last week but the trial was interrupted.

He has rejected the case as the Kremlin enacting political revenge.

This is a separate charge from a 2014 fraud and money-laundering embezzlement conviction, for which Navalny was sentenced to jail earlier last week.

Last year, Navalny was accused of slamming people featured in a video promoting the constitutional reform extending President Vladimir Putin's rule as "corrupt stooges," "people without consciousness" and "traitors".

The Russian Investigative Committee maintained that Navalny's comments "denigrate the honour and dignity" of a World War II veteran featured in the video.

Navalny, 44, an anti-corruption campaigner who is Russian President Vladimir Putin's most determined political foe, was arrested on January 17 upon returning from his five-month convalescence in Germany from a nerve agent poisoning, which he has blamed on the Kremlin.

Russian authorities deny any involvement and claim they have seen no proof that he was poisoned despite tests by several European labs.

A Moscow court last Tuesday sent Navalny to prison, finding that he violated the terms of his probation while recuperating in Germany and sentenced him to two years and eight months in prison.