A Moscow court on Saturday rejected an appeal against the prison sentence of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, even as the country faced a top European rights court order to free the Kremlin’s most prominent enemy did.

Speaking before the verdict, Navalny urged the Russians to stand up to the Kremlin in a furious speech in reference to the Bible and “Harry Potter”.

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A lower court earlier this month sentenced Navalny to two years and eight months in prison, while accusing him of poisoning a nerve agent in Germany, saying he was accusing the Kremlin. Russian authorities have dismissed the charge.

44-year-old Navalny, the most vocal critic of the anti-corruption crusade and President Vladimir Putin, appealed for a prison sentence and asked to be released. The judge of the Moscow City Court on Saturday reduced his sentence to just 2 1/2 years in prison, ruling that in early 2015 one-and-a-half Navalny spent under House Arrest will be cut from his sentence .

In a gesture by Russia's opposition leader Alexey Navalnyi, Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, February 20, 2021, stood in a cage in the Babuski District Court.  (AP Photo / Alexander Zameliyanchenko)

In a gesture by Russia’s opposition leader Alexey Navalnyi, Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, February 20, 2021, stood in a cage in the Babuski District Court. (AP Photo / Alexander Zameliyanchenko)

The arrest and imprisonment of activists has caused a huge wave of protest throughout Russia. Authorities responded with an extensive crackdown, detaining about 11,000 people, many of whom were fined or imprisoned for seven to 15 days.

Speaking before the verdict, Navalny also cited the Bible as well as “Harry Potter” and the animated sitcom “Rick and Morty” as he challenged pressure from authorities to oppose and make the Kremlin a fair and more prosperous country. Urged to give.

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He said, “The government’s job is to scare you and then convince you that you are alone.” Quoting Putin, he said, “Our Voldemort in his palace also wants me to cut him.”

“To live is to risk all this,” he continued. “Otherwise, you are an inactive part of randomly assembled molecules, where the universe blows you up.”

Navalny also addressed the judge and prosecutor, arguing that they could lead a better life in a new Russia.

“Just imagine how fabulous life would be without constantly lying,” he said. “Imagine how good it would be to work as a judge when no one would be able to call you and instruct you on which issue to issue.”

He Insisting that he was unable to report to authorities according to his probation requirements while he was having a convocation in Germany after his poisoning, stressing that he returned to Russia soon after his health was allowed .

“I didn’t hide,” he said. “The whole world knew where I was.”

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Navalny said that he was an atheist at first, but has come to believe in God, saying that his faith helped him meet his challenges. He He said that he believed that the Bible says that those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness are blessed, and have no regrets returning home.

A police van carrying Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny arrives at Babulkinski district court from the left, street police vehicles before the start of his trial in Moscow, Russia.  On 20 February 2021 (AP Photo / Alexander) Zameliyanchenko)

A police van carrying Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny arrives at Babulkinski district court from the left, street police vehicles before the start of his trial in Moscow, Russia. On 20 February 2021 (AP Photo / Alexander) Zameliyanchenko)

“Although our country is built on injustice and we all face it, we also see that millions of people want righteousness,” Navalani told the court. “They want righteousness and sooner or later they will have it.”

Russia has dismissed Western criticism of Navalny’s arrest and the action of the demonstrations as mediation in its internal affairs.

In a ruling Tuesday, the European Human Rights Court ordered the Russian government to release Navalny, citing “the nature and extent of risk of the applicant’s life”. The Strasbourg-based court noted that Navalny countered the argument of the Russian authorities that he had taken adequate measures to protect his life and welfare after the nerve agent attack.

The Russian government has rejected the demand for a Strasbourg-based court, stating the ruling in Russia’s cases as unlawful and “unintentional”.

In the past, Moscow has complied with the rules of the ECHR, compensating Russian citizens, who have ruled in Russian courts, but never faced a European court demand to absolve it.

In a sign of its long-standing resentment with the Strasbourg court ruling, Russia adopted a constitutional amendment last year declaring national law a priority over international law. Russian officials can now use that provision to reject the ECHR’s decision.

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Later on Saturday, Navalny will face proceedings in a separate case on charges of defaming the World War II veteran. Navalny, who called the 94-year-old veteran and others a corrupt “,” “people without conscience” and “traitor” in the Kremlin, dismissed allegations of slander and part of official efforts to dislike him. Him.