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Russia launches new probe against opposition activist Navalny

December 21, 2015, 10:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, Alexey Navalny is under new investigation for defamation of a Moscow district court judge

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Alexey Navalny

Alexey Navalny

© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny is under new investigation for defamation of a Moscow district court judge, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Monday.

In late October, Navalny posted on the Internet a picture and a note reading: "Grazing the skin of corrupt Judge (Yevgeniy) Borisov." This came shortly after the hearing where the judge ordered Navalny and two associates to pay 16 million rubles ($225,500) in moral damages to the Kirovles company.

The opposition activist now faces a fine of up to 2 million rubles (some $28,200) or 360 hours of compulsory community service. The sanctions can be tougher if the slander is linked to "accusing a person of committing a grave or a particularly grave crime."

Russian MP Anatoly Vyborny said in his commentary Navalny accuses the judge of embezzlement and disseminates information undermining his reputation and in fact calls for violence against him.

"Therefore, in Navalny’s actions there are signs of crimes envisaged by the Russian Criminal Court," he said.

In July 2013, Navalny and former head of Vyatsk Forest Company Pyotr Ofitserov received five and four years suspended sentences, respectively, for embezzlement of the Kirovles company’s property. Kirovles ex-director general Vyacheslav Opalev was also sentenced earlier in this case.

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