[JURIST] Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov [Forbes backgrounder] filed a slander lawsuit Wednesday against Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny [BBC backgrounder] in Moscow’s Lyublinksy district court, according to court documents and the court press secretary. In a statement [TASS report], court service secretary said, “Usmanov’s slander lawsuit against Navalny has been indeed filed with the Lyublinsky court. The court will decide on initiating the proceedings within 5 days.” The lawsuit stems from Navalny and his non-profit organization, the Anti-Corruption Foundation [official website], accusing Usmanov of bribing the Russian prime minister through the SotsGosProyekt Foundation.
Navalny has been a focal point of Russia’s legal system and news as he is one of the leading voices [Financial Times report] against Putin’s regime. In March Navalny was arrested [JURIST report] at a demonstration protesting the alleged corruption of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. In February he was convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] for embezzlement. That same month, the European Court of Human Rights ordered [JURIST report] Russia to pay more than €63,000 for arresting Navalny multiple times between March 2012 and February 2014. In May a Moscow court declined [JURIST report] authorities’ request to convert Navalny’s suspended sentence into a prison term. He had been convicted of fraud and sentenced to three-and-a-half-years suspended sentence. In 2015 Navalny was handed [JURIST report] a 15-day prison sentence for distributing leaflets attempting to publicize an “anti-crisis” demonstration.