A court in Moscow has dropped a libel lawsuit filed by Aleksei Navalny against Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov over comments he made linking U.S. spies with the jailed opposition politician.
Officials of the Presnensky district court told Novaya Gazeta that the case had been turned down on August 10.
Lawyer Valeria Arshinova said on Twitter that the decision was made "without any evidence from Peskov and without his participation in the court hearings."
Navalny filed an initial lawsuit against Peskov in November 2020 to defend what he called his "honor, dignity, and business reputation."
The opposition politician demanded that the Kremlin publish on its official website his rebuttal of public statements Peskov made saying that CIA specialists are "working with Navalny" and that the contents of Navalny's statements, including those criticizing President Vladimir Putin, are prepared by the U.S. secret service.
The court refused to register the lawsuit at the time, citing "procedural shortcomings." It was then refiled, and the court said in May that it accepted the suit for hearing.
Navalny was arrested in January upon his return to Russia from Germany, where he received life-saving treatment for a poisoning attack in Siberia in August.
He blames the poisoning with a Soviet-style chemical nerve agent on Putin and Russia's security services. The Kremlin has denied any role in the poisoning.
In February, a Moscow court ruled that, while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case that is widely considered to be politically motivated. He is currently serving a 2 1/2-year sentence at a prison in the Vladimir region.
Navalny's incarceration sparked numerous protests across Russia which were violently dispersed by police.
Meanwhile, the Russian authorities have cracked down on the opposition, Navalny’s organizations, and his allies as the ruling United Russia party has been polling at historic lows ahead of parliamentary elections in September.