Novosibirsk court orders examination of city’s mayor’s statement in Navalny libel lawsuit

“MOSCOW, August 27 (RAPSI) – A court in Novosibirsk has requested a forensic linguistic examination as part of a libel suit filed by opposition politician Alexei Navalny and the local branch of the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS) against Mayor Anatoly Lokot, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday, citing a representative of the Tsentralny District Court of Novosibirsk.

Lokot said at a meeting of the mayoral Public Council in late June that the Democratic Coalition, which was created with PARNAS at its core, allegedly received foreign funding. The mayor said the US Congress allegedly allocated $20 million to the party for the regional election campaign. One of the local journalists posted the mayor’s statement online.

Lokot also said that preparations for an “orange revolution” were allegedly underway in Novosibirsk, and claimed that the Democratic Coalition paid 150 rubles per signature in support of the coalition’s participation in the elections this fall.

The Democratic Coalition asked the Investigative Committee to open a case against Lokot on charges of libel and attempts to hinder a public event. The Investigative Committee declined to do so.

According to information made public in mid-April, PARNAS and Alexei Navalny’s Party of Progress agreed to nominate common candidates to elections to be held in the next two years, including the State Duma election in 2016. The Democratic Choice Party, the Party of 5 December and the Libertarian Party of Russia later joined the coalition.

Alexei Navalny, an opposition politician and the leader of the Party of Progress, came in second in the Moscow mayoral elections in 2013 with 27 percent of the vote. He received a suspended five-year sentence in the Kirovles embezzlement case and has been charged in several other criminal cases.

Navalny was also an organizer of the protests in Moscow in 2011-2012, including a rally in May 2012 that resulted in public unrest and clashes with the police. He is popular as the author of an anti-corruption blog.”

SOURCE: RAPSI

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