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Opposition activist's lawyer asks to return case to prosecutors

April 24, 2013, 11:10 UTC+3

The lawyer of Opposition activist Alexei Navalny believes that "there are considerable violations in the case that cannot be eliminated at a court hearing"

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MOSCOW, April 24 (Itar-Tass) - The lawyer of Opposition activist Alexei Navalny insists on returning the case against his client to prosecutors.

Lawyer Vadim Kobzev believes that "there are considerable violations in the case that cannot be eliminated at a court hearing." For example, the indictment against Navalny and his suspected accomplice Pyotr Ofitserov is not specific regarding the sum of damage or precise time and venue of the imputed crime.

Also, the indictment names two mutually exclusive sums - 16,165,826 and 16,003,880 roubles.

Kobzev drew attention to the fact that Navalny, in the course of preliminary investigation, stated that he did not understand the charges, in particular the crimes had had allegedly committed and the criminal instructions he had allegedly issued to Ofitserov. The indictment misses the evidence proving the suspects' innocence, he said.

Another reason to return the case to prosecutors is a formal study of Navalny's case, the lawyer said, noting that the prosecutor could not have possibly read 31 volumes of the criminal case in a day.

"Our conclusion is that neither the case nor the indictment has been studied," Kobzev said.

Earlier, Investigative Committee /SK/ spokesman Vladimir Markin told Tass that Navalny, as an advisor to the Kirov region governor, "arranged the theft of Kirovles company by entering in collusion with Vyatka Timber Company director Pyotr Ofitserov and Kirovles director general Vyacheslav Opalev."

The SK believes that more than 10,000 cubic meters of timber were stolen in the period from May through September 2009, causing a 16-million-rouble damage to the regional budget.

On December 24, 2012, Kirov's Lenin district court gave Opalev a four-year suspended sentence. Opalev had pleaded guilty and signed a plea bargain agreement. "He gave detailed testimony regarding the circumstances of the crime committed in complicity with Navalny," the SK said.

Navalny and Ofitserov denied wrongdoing.

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