KIROV, December 6. /TASS/. Russian opposition activist and blogger Alexei Navalny failed to appear in the Leninsky court in Kirov on Tuesday and the hearing on the Kirovles embezzlement case is held without the defendant, a TASS correspondent reported.
The hearing on the merits was scheduled for Monday, but the whole day was devoted to considering the defense team’s motions on closing the case and returning it to the prosecutors. After Judge Alexei Vtyurin refused to satisfy both motions, Navalny’s lawyer asked for his recusal.
The judge postponed the announcement of decision on the recusal until Tuesday. However, Navalny said he would not turn up at the court as his lawyer could not attend the hearing for a valid reason. Earlier in the day, the judge announced that he rejects the demand for his recusal.
The prosecutors have asked the court to request Navalny’s compulsory presence at the hearing, accusing him of disregarding the judicial process. The second defendant, Pyotr Ofitserov, said Navalny would attend the hearing if it was scheduled for an acceptable time.
In mid-November, the presidium of Russia’s Supreme Court overturned the sentence against Navalny, who was found guilty of embezzling funds belonging to the Kirovles company. The case was transferred to the Leninsky district court in Kirov, in the central part of European Russia, for a retrial.
The Supreme Court’s presidium initiated a check into the case following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which said that Navalny’s rights to have a fair trial had been violated.
In July 2013, Navalny was found guilty of embezzling the funds of Kirovles company in the Kirov region and given a five-year suspended sentence as part of the Kirovles case. The second defendant, the former head of the Vyatka Forest Company, Pyotr Ofitserov, received a four-year suspended sentence. Each was also ordered to pay a 500,000 ruble ($7,800) fine.