Russian Opposition leader Navalny jailed

UPDATE: On July 19 a judge in Kirov, Russia, has ordered the release of jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny a day after his conviction and sentencing to five years in prison on embezzlement charges. State prosecutor Sergei Bogdanov requested Navalny be freed while he appeals his conviction, but called for "travel restrictions" to be placed on the anticorruption blogger and activist. The release came after a surprise request by prosecutors, who said that because Navalny is a candidate in this autumn's Moscow mayoral race, keeping him in custody would deny him his right to seek election. The release is to last until all appeals against his conviction are completed. During the court session, Navalny used his opportunity to speak and also his sense of humor to point out the difference between Bogdanov’s attitude on July 18 and his request to the court the following day."Esteemed court, first of all, I would like to bring to your attention the need to ascertain the identity of prosecutor Bogdanov as there is a chance that this is his doppelgänger sent by members of the opposition, because it was prosecutor Bogdanov who demanded that I be detained in court," Navalny said.

 

 

On July 18 the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to five years in a penal colony after a Russian judge found him guilty of embezzlement from a timber firm. Navalny, one of the fiercest critics of the Russian government, says the verdict is politically motivated and claims he will appeal against it.

Navalny was found guilty of heading a group that embezzled timber worth almost €400,000 from the Kirovles state timber company while he worked as an advisor to Kirov’s governor Nikita Belykh.

Condemned

The verdict has drawn swift condemnation from both the European Union and countries such as the United States, Germany, France and Great Britain. The EU said the verdict posed ‘serious questions’ about the state of the Russian law.

‘The Court, having examined the case, has established that Navalny organized a crime and the theft of property on a particularly large scale.’

Before he was handcuffed and led away he Tweeted: ‘don’t sit around doing nothing.’

Navalny has been a leading campaigner against President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and frequently blogged about corruption allegations. Recently he registered his candidacy for the next mayor of Moscow and said he would like to stand for President one day.

Completely fabricated
Anti-Putin activist and former Cabinet Minister Boris Nemtsov told reporters the trial was ‘completely fabricated from the start to finish, and even the judge could not say what the reason for the crime was.’

Navalny’s co-accused, Pyotr Ofitserov was also found guilty and was given a four year jail sentence.

Navalny said in his Liveblog journal ‘The current authorities are not a big healthy fish, but rather a bloated fish or latin American toad, which puffs itself up when it sees danger, with the help of television.’ 

Sources: Al Jazeera, RFE/RL, BBC, The Moscow News

 

 

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