MOSCOW, September 15 /TASS/. The Moscow City Court on Wednesday upheld a decision to reject a lawsuit on protection of honor and dignity filed by Russian opposition figurehead Alexey Navalny against the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK); Dmitry Kiselyov, the deputy director-general of the Rossiya -1 TV channel and journalist Yevgeny Popov for The Browder Effect documentary.
"The Savlyolovsky court of the city of Moscow rules to leave the appeal unchanged without satisfaction," the court said in its statement.
Navalny’s lawyer Ivan Zhdanov said after the court session that he would appeal the decision at the presidium of the Moscow City Court. Zhdanov also said he was going to file an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). "Of course, we are going to appeal the decision both in Russian courts of higher jurisdiction and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)," Zhdanov stressed.
Navalny’s lawsuit relates to an April 10 news segment, which was shown in the Vesti Nedeli program on Rossiya-1 TV channel and announced an upcoming documentary film, The Browder Effect. Yevgeny Kiselyov and journalist Yevgeny Popov exposed Navalny's connections to the investment fund Hermitage Capital, previously run by William Browder whom the film authors accuse of being a British secret agent.
Navalny demanded that the information contained in the film, including his talks with Russian State Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, should be officially refuted.
The court met in Navalny’s absence. His lawyers said Navalny had not been properly informed and learnt about the session at the last minute. However, the Russian Post (Pochta Rossii) company confirmed that it had handed in the notification to Navalny on September 9. That is why the court decided not to postpone the appeal’s consideration.
At the Moscow City Court, Navalny’s defense lawyers said that the court of the lower jurisdiction had backed out from checking the authenticity of facts and replicas made in the documentary.
In turn, the respondent’s representative said that the remarks objected by Navalny were taken out of the context and had nothing to do with Navalny at all. They reflected the journalists’ personal opinion and assessments. "For example, when he (Kiselyov) says that he considers Navalny to be a small fry in politics, it is his personal judgement," she explained.
Having heard the judgements of the litigating parties, the court of appeal decided to uphold the the Savyolovsky court decision.