29 August 2011 On 29 August 2011 a hearing in the case of entrepreneur Vladlen Stepanov against the blogger Aleksei Navalny was scheduled to begin in Moscow's Liublin District Court. The blogger Aleksei Navalny in court during the hearing in a case brought by Vladlen Stepanov.
© Photo Georgi Alburov (@alburov).
The court granted the request made by the applicant’s lawyer to postpone the hearing until 9 September 2011 due to his client's illness, said Ramil Akhmetgaliev, one of Navalny's defence counsel and a legal expert with the Agora Human Rights Association, from the courtroom.
Vladlen Stepanov is suing the blogger Aleksei Navalny for defamation and claiming 1 million roubles in compensation, a correspondent of the Open Information Agency reported. Stepanov maintains that Navalny disseminated information claiming he was complicit in the embezzlement of over 5 billion roubles from the state budget that was uncovered by the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in pre-trial detention.
“Today the applicant has increased his claim by 100 roubles to 1,000,100 roubles,” Ramil Akhmetgaliev said. “He was apparently hoping the increased amount would make us request a postponement of the trial. As this did not happen and the judge was ready to start considering the substantive case, Stepanov's lawyer made a second request to have the trial postponed due to his client’s illness. However, he failed to present any supporting medical documentation. The judge, forced to take his word, postponed the trial stating it was desirable for the relevant medical certificate to be presented by 9 September. That is when we will find out whether in delaying the trial Stepanov was enforcing his rights or rather abusing the law. We do not understand why the applicant is dragging out the trial.”