Russian court outlaws Navalny's organizations as 'extremist'
Moscow City Cout has officially recognized organizations founded by the leader of the Russian opposition Alexei Navalny as ‘extremist’. This includes the Anti-Corruption Foundation, an organization that investigated the alleged corruption schemes of President Putin and other high-ranking government officials. With the court’s ruling coming into motion, Navalny’s organizations will no longer be able to function, as failure to comply will be punishable by lengthy prison sentences.
Russian Novaya Gazeta reports that the Moscow City Court recognized the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), the Foundation for the Protection of Citizens’ Rights and Navalny’s Headquarters as extremist organizations and decided to immediately liquidate them and terminate their activities.
The court announced its decision late in the evening on June 9. The trial was closed to the public and lasted for 12 hours.
The Moscow prosecutor’s office filed a lawsuit demanding that Navalny’s organizations be declared extremist on April 16 “in connection with their actual implementation of extremist activities” aimed at “creating the conditions for changing the foundations of the constitutional order” including the use of “color revolution” scenario.
From now on, any attempts to continue the activities of these organizations will be considered a criminal offense punishable by a prison term.
Recently, the Russian State Duma passed a law that prohibits participation in elections for people who are involved in “extremist organizations” or those supporting them.
Alexey Navalny, who is currently serving his sentence has also commented on the court’s ruling:
“We are more than a name, more than a piece of paper or an office. We are a group of people who unite and organize those citizens of Russia who are [fighting] against corruption, for fair courts and equality of all before the law. There are millions of us. You are one of us too. As long as you are with us, we are not going anywhere”, the oppositionist said in an Instagram post.
On April 29, Navalny’s associate Leonid Volkov officially announced the closure of Navalny’s headquarters. According to him, participation in the work of the headquarters will entail legal consequences for employees and volunteers.
The Russian authorities began persecuting Navalny’s supporters after Navalny, who miraculously survived the poisoning with the Novichok nerve agent, was arrested on January 17 at the airport immediately after he had returned to Russia from Germany, where he was undergoing medical treatment.
Later, the court sentenced him to two years and eight months in prison, replacing his suspended sentence in one of the criminal cases launched against him with a real one.