In a separate case, also heard on Saturday, Navalny was found guilty of defaming a World War II veteran and fined 850,000 rubles ($ 11,480).

In the morning ruling, held at the Babushkinsky District Court but issued by the Moscow City Court, the judge reduced the activist’s sentence by a month and a half after considering the time he spent under house arrest from December 2014 to February 2015.

Navalny’s lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, applied to the court for the immediate release of her client, as requested by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The court issued the original judgment on Feb.2, after ruling that while Navalny was in Germany, he violated probation requirements from a 2014 case in which he received a three and a half year suspended sentence.

The suspended sentence was then replaced by a prison sentence.

Navalny was arrested by the Russian state in January after arriving from Germany, where he was recovering for five months from the Novichok poisoning he had alleged against the Russian government. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Mikhailova argued that Navalny’s life and health were in danger while in custody.

Guilty of defamation, court regulations

At a separate hearing in the Babushkinsky District Court on Saturday, Navalny was convicted of defamation of a World War II veteran, an indictment he dismissed as politically motivated.

The case related to comments Navalny made on social media in June last year. He criticized a video on the state television broadcaster RT in which various prominent figures advocated controversial changes to the Russian constitution. The 94-year-old veteran Ignat Artemenko was one of these supporters. Navalny was accused of defaming the veteran.

The constitutional amendments, backed by a July 1 referendum, paved the way for Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay in office until 2036, despite having ruled the country for two decades.

“Navalny knew for sure that the information he had spread was false and defamed the reputation,” said judge Vera Akimova on Saturday.

In December 2020, the defamation sentence was changed to include the potential jail term. However, at the time of Navalny’s alleged crime, those found guilty could only be fined up to one million rubles (approximately $ 13,300) or sentenced to perform community service.

Navalny’s treatment has sparked mass protests across Russia and condemnation by Western leaders.

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