Navalny, his head shaven, mentioned he had been taken to a bathhouse to look “respectable” for the listening to. AP Picture
MOSCOW: Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “bare, thieving king” on Thursday, wanting gaunt however defiant in a courtroom video hyperlink from jail, his first public look since ending a starvation strike final week.
His remarks on a blurry video piped right into a Moscow courtroom got here amid new authorized strain on Navalny and his motion. Allies mentioned he confronted new prison fees and so they had been pressured to disband his community of regional marketing campaign workplaces, which the authorities are in search of to ban as “extremist”.
Navalny, his head shaven, mentioned he had been taken to a bathhouse to look “respectable” for the listening to. He undid his jail uniform to disclose a T-shirt that hardly hid his skinny torso.
“I appeared within the mirror. In fact, I am only a dreadful skeleton,” he mentioned, including that he now weighed 72kg (11.three stones), the identical weight as when he was in school.
Later within the enchantment listening to towards a responsible verdict on a cost of defaming a World Struggle Two veteran, Navalny, 44, went on the assault towards Putin and the Russian justice system. At one level he interrupted the decide, and was reprimanded.
“I need to inform the expensive court docket that your king is bare,” he mentioned of Putin. “Tens of millions of persons are already shouting about it, as a result of it’s apparent… His crown is hanging and slipping.”
Reiterating allegations of corruption that the Kremlin denies, he mentioned: “Your bare, thieving king desires to proceed to rule till the tip … One other 10 years will come, a stolen decade will come”.
Navalny got here to prominence with an anti-corruption marketing campaign of caustic movies cataloguing the wealth of senior officers he labelled “swindlers and thieves”. He has emerged as Putin’s fiercest political rival in an period when mainstream opposition events have managed to construct up solely slender help.
A separate court docket is contemplating whether or not to declare Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Basis (FBK) and his community of regional marketing campaign workplaces “extremist”, which might give authorities the facility to jail activists and freeze financial institution accounts. That court docket mentioned on Thursday it could maintain its subsequent listening to on Might 17.
“Sustaining the work of Navalny’s community of headquarters in its present type is unattainable: it could instantly … result in prison sentences for individuals who work within the headquarters, who collaborate with them and for individuals who assist them,” Leonid Volkov, one in all Navalny’s shut allies, mentioned in a YouTube video.
Volkov mentioned lots of the workplaces would attempt to perform as impartial regional our bodies with their very own leaders.
Navalny’s allies additionally mentioned a brand new prison case had been opened towards him for allegedly organising a non-profit organisation that infringed on the rights of residents. This might not instantly be confirmed.
Nerve agent assault
Navalny is serving a 2-1/2 yr jail sentence for parole violations on an earlier embezzlement conviction that he says was politically motivated.
Final yr, he survived an assault with a nerve agent. After recovering in Germany, he was arrested on his return to Russia in January and sentenced the next month.
He declared his starvation strike in jail on March 31 to demand higher medical look after leg and again ache. On April 23 he mentioned he would begin ending it after getting extra medical care. Russia has mentioned he’s receiving the identical remedy as some other prisoner and accused him of exaggerating his well being wants for publicity.
Throughout Thursday’s courtroom video look, he mentioned he had eaten 4 spoonfuls of porridge on Wednesday and that getting 10 spoonfuls down could be a “breakthrough”.
“I have been asking for one little little bit of apple for 4 days however the query hasn’t been resolved but,” he mentioned. “However porridge – as a lot as you need.”