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Moscow City Court to consider replacing Navalny’s suspended sentence with real jail term

Security will be tightened amid calls for holding an unauthorized rally in front of the court’s building

MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. Moscow’s Simonovsky court at its visiting session in the Moscow City Court will consider on Tuesday a motion by the federal prison authority on replacing a suspended sentence for Alexey Navalny with a real jail term as part of the Yves Rocher fraud case.

Due to a large number of accredited journalists the hearing will be held in the Moscow City Court’s building, which has enough room, according to the court’s press service. The court will hold a video broadcast for those who won’t be able to attend the hearing, which is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Moscow Time. Navalny is expected to be taken to the courtroom.

Security will be tightened amid calls for holding an unauthorized rally in front of the court’s building. Only judges and staff as well as accredited journalists will be allowed to enter the court’s yard.

A spokesman for the Federal Penitentiary Service’s Moscow department told TASS earlier, Navalny was obliged to appear at penitentiary inspection office at least twice a month on the days appointed by the penitentiary inspection. However, he skipped such obligatory visits at least six times in 2020, namely on January 13, January 27, February 3, March 16, July 6, and August 17. Official warnings about possible replacement of the suspended sentence by a real prison term were issued in each of these cases.

Navalny was not summoned for registration during the period of his treatment at Berlin’s Charite clinic. However, according to official reports from it, he was released on September 23, 2020. He did not reply to a summons for October 23. Only a month later, i.e. on November 23, he notified the penitentiary authorities that he was staying at Berlin’s Hotel Arabel for a rehabilitation period. However, no official documents confirming his undergoing treatment were not provided, whereas the mere fact of undergoing rehabilitation is not a sufficient ground to skip registration with penitentiary bodies.

According to Deputy Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service Anatoly Yakunin, such court motions are generally practiced. Thus, in 2019 only, courts revoked more than 15,000 suspended sentences to replace them with actual prison terms.

On December 30, 2014, Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky district court sentenced Navalny to 3 years and six months in jail with a probation period of five years and a fine of 500,000 rubles ($6,800) on charges of fraud and money laundering under the Yves Rocher case. On April 25, 2018, the Russian Supreme Court upheld the verdict as legal and grounded.