Moscow court rejects Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's appeal against prison sentence

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Navalny's allies believe Russia's non-compliance with the ruling could lead to its expulsion from the Council of Europe and exacerbate a crisis in Moscow's ties with Europe that began with the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

A Moscow appeals court on Saturday rejected opposition leader Alexei Navalny's demand to be released from custody, ensuring Russian President Vladimir Putin's staunchest critic remains behind bars.

Russian opposition leader and Putin critic, Alexey Navalny, likely to be sent to prison camp.

Navalny was arrested last month upon returning from Germany following treatment for poisoning with what many Western countries say was a military-grade nerve agent.

State prosecutors have asked the court to fine Navalny 950,000 roubles ($16,300) for slander.

Prosecutors in a separate trial have called for the Kremlin critic to be fined the equivalent of $13,000 for calling a World War II veteran a "traitor" on Twitter previous year, with a verdict also expected Saturday.

A Moscow City Court judge reduced the sentence from two years and eight months to just over two and a half years.

Putin, who makes a point of never uttering Navalny's name, has said Russian state security agents would have "finished the job" if they had wanted to kill Navalny who he suggested was not important enough to eliminate. The prosecution had asked the court transcript to show Navalny was to blame for the elderly veteran's malaise.

The European Court of Human Rights said on Wednesday that Moscow should immediately free Navalny, whose arrest and jailing sparked street protests in cities across Russian Federation. "The rest of the order remains unchanged", the court ruling read.

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Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest and charged with breaching import-export laws - charges described by Amnesty as "trumped up."

The Russian government has rebuffed the ECHR's demand, describing the ruling as unlawful and "inadmissible" meddling in Russia's affairs.

In a sign of its long-held annoyance with the Strasbourg court's verdicts, Russian Federation a year ago adopted a constitutional amendment declaring the priority of national legislation over worldwide law.

Mikhail Yemelyanov, a deputy head of the legal affairs committee in the Kremlin-controlled lower house of parliament, pointed at the constitutional change, noting that it gives Russian Federation the right to ignore the ECHR's ruling, according to the Interfax news agency. Authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown, detaining about 11,000 people, many of whom were fined or given jail terms ranging from seven to 15 days.

But he has said his comments were not specifically directed against the veteran, and that the authorities are using the charge to smear his reputation.

Russian Federation has rejected Western criticism of Navalny's arrest and the crackdown on demonstrations as meddling in its internal affairs.

"Once I'd recovered, I bought a plane ticket and came home". Police used force to break up the protests and detained more than 2,500 people.

The 94-year-old veteran at the centre of the separate defamation case appeared in a video that was derided by Navalny for promoting constitutional reforms that passed last year and could allow President Putin to stay in power until 2036. She has now left the country for Germany.

"To live is to risk it all".

The United States, Britain, Germany and the European Union have urged Moscow to immediately free Navalny and condemned Russia's repression of protests.

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