Navalny’s lawyers were only given access to the prosecution in the case on the morning of the hearing.
The suspension means that Navalny’s main political network in the country is barred from operating ahead of the September parliamentary elections.
The court also suspended a number of YouTube channels, Instagram and other social media sites affiliated with Navalny, saying those sites contained extremist material and called for participation in extremist activity and mass harassment.
A ban would be one of the most far-reaching measures to suppress free speech and destroy an opposition movement since the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, according to rights groups.
The court will decide on Tuesday whether the activities of the Anti-Corruption Fund should be suspended pending the court’s decision on the ban as well as Navalny’s headquarters and regional offices.
Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, which prosecutors want to ban, has published hard-hitting reports on the alleged corruption of Russian top bureaucrats and officials of President Vladimir Putin. Among the reports was a video titled “Putin’s Palace. History of the world’s largest bribe, ”as it has been seen Youtube more than 116 million times.
Navalny headquarters, a network of nearly 40 regional offices in cities across Russia, is also being considered. A ban would mean that employees in these offices could be caught if they continued to work. The third organization that prosecutors want to ban is the Civil Rights Protection Organization.
One of the lawyers for Navalny’s organizations, Ivan Pavlov, said the case was unprecedented.
“We have never encountered a case where the fight against corruption has been called a threat to state security,” said Pavlov, who specializes in cases where people are believed to have revealed state secrets or threatened state security.
He added that the case potentially affected all Russians because it was against “anyone who supported the fund, who sent donations that followed the investigation.”
Pavlov said he would focus on ensuring the court released as much information as possible, which could be complicated by the presence of state secrets in the case files.
Pavlov tweeted a photograph of a green plastic bag containing a pile of pers that is more than a foot high – the documents related to the case were not classified. According to lawyers, the persons weighed more than 22 pounds.
The Moscow prosecution said it presented “exhaustive evidence” to the court on Monday that the Navalny organizations “destabilized the socio-political situation in the country, including through calls for violence, extremist activities and mass unrest and through attempts to engage minors in illegal activities. ”
It said Navalny’s organizations were controlled by “foreign centers pursuing destructive designs with respect to Russia.”
Earlier this month, the prosecutor said Navalny’s organizations were trying to change the government and provoke a “color revolution” that operated “under the guise of liberal slogans.”
Another lawyer for the Navalny team, Valeria Vetoshkina, said the ban would allow prosecution of all citizens who supported the three Navalny organizations, contrary to the current constitution.
“We may have different views on the Anti-Corruption Foundation and the ideas that Alexei Navalny promotes in particular, but there is nothing they do that falls under the definition of extremism,” she said.
She added that the classification of legal materials as state secrets raised questions about why.
“So far, it looks like an attempt to prevent everyone from talking openly about this process,” she said.
Navalny has been in prison for more than two years in a case he calls political. He was arrested when he returned from Germany, where he received treatment last year after being poisoned in August with a chemical nerve agent that Navalny, the United States and the European Union have blamed on the Russian state – a claim that Russia rejects.
Anti-Corruption Foundation investigator Maria Pevchikh said the hearing was crucial because it equated “the fight against corruption with extremism” and was only the beginning. “Do not think it does not affect you. It will. They just started with U.S.”
Amnesty International has called the ban requested by prosecutors, an attempt to “completely close the dissent.”
“If the courts label Navalny’s organizations ‘extremist’ and ban them, the result is likely to be one of the most serious violations of the rights to freedom of expression and association in Russia’s post – Soviet history,” the organization said in a statement.
“This threatening ban has far-reaching consequences for Russian civil society. Tens of thousands of peaceful activists and staff on [Alexei] “Navalny’s organizations are in serious danger – if their organizations are considered ‘extremist’, they will face an imminent risk of prosecution,” Amnesty International said.
Russian police have looted many of these offices and arrested dozens of Navalny activists in recent weeks and in some cases knocked on the doors of their homes in the middle of the night.