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Blogger Navalny rejects out-of-court settlement of defamation suit brought against him by businessman Stepanov


16 September 2011

Blogger Aleksey Navalny in court at a hearing of the lawsuit 
brought against him by Vladlen Stepanov. 
© Photo Georgi Alburov (@alburov).

At the time of writing the court hearing continues on the substance of the case brought by the businessman Vladlen Stepanov against the blogger Aleksei Navalny

The hearing began with the two parties refusing to settle out of court. In addition to 1,000,100 roubles in compensation for moral damage, Vladlen Stepanov is demanding the blocking of Aleksey Navalny's LiveJournal page featuring a videofile, which includes statements the claimant has found objectionable, one of Navalny's defence lawyers, Ramil Akhmetgaliev, a legal analyst with AGORA Human Rights Association reports from the courtroom.

Vladlen Stepanov is suing the blogger Aleksey Navalny for 1 million roubles in compensation for moral damage for defamation. Initially, Stepanov claimed that Navalny had disseminated information about his complicity in the theft of over 5 billion roubles of government funds, uncovered by the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in prison. At the first hearing on 29 August a lawyer representing Stepanov asked the court to increase the amount of compensation by 100 roubles, to 1,000,100 roubles. When the defendant did not request that the hearing be postponed in connection with the increased amount of compensation the claimant's representative asked that the hearing be postponed due to Vladlen Stepanov's illness.

On 9 September Stepanov attended the hearing with a new lawyer. The position taken by the claimant has changed. Now, he is no longer demanding the publication of a refutation of his complicity in the theft of 5.5 billion roubles but rather the denial of six quotations from a video film posted on Aleksei Navalny's blog. The statements concern Stepanov's family; transfers of funds; a property purchase; and Stepanov's wife from whom, as the entrepreneur announced today, he has been divorced since the early 1990s.