A Moscow court on Wednesday was studying the prosecution’s request to declare the organizations of the imprisoned opponent Alexeï Navalny “extremist”, a measure that would allow increased repression of his supporters in the run-up to legislative elections.
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Komanda 29, the team of lawyers defending these organizations, in particular the Anti-Corruption Fund, indicated on its Telegram channel that “the judge intends to announce a decision today”, without giving further details.
According to the same source, the court rejected in the morning at least nine defense requests, in particular to lift the confidentiality of the proceedings at the trial.
The latter is held in camera, justice having considered that elements of the case were “secret”, a decision testifying, according to opponents, to the opacity of the procedure and the lack of evidence.
The Russian prosecution asked in mid-April to qualify three organizations linked to Alexeï Navalny as “extremists”, including the FBK and the opponent’s network of regional offices.
The FBK is known for its resounding investigations denouncing the lifestyle and wrongdoing of Russian elites, while its offices were busy organizing demonstrations and election campaigns.
The outcome of this procedure leaves little doubt: the network of regional offices of Mr. Navalny was already classified at the end of April in the list of “extremist” organizations of the financial monitoring service. As a result, he proceeded to self-dissolve to avoid prosecution of their members.
Employees of “extremist” formations risk heavy prison sentences in Russia.
In addition, Vladimir Putin promulgated a law last week prohibiting collaborators of “extremist” organizations from participating in elections. Legislative elections are scheduled for September.
In recent months, the repression has intensified against Mr. Navalny’s team, pushing several of its executives into exile, but also against independent media and other members of the opposition.