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Opposition activist Navalny sentenced to 5 years in prison

July 18, 2013, 12:35 UTC+3
Earlier, the prosecutor requested the judge to sentence Navalny and Ofitserov to 6 and 5 years’ imprisonment
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Photo ITAR-TASS

Photo ITAR-TASS

KIROV, July 18 (Itar-Tass) - Leninsky district court has sentenced the Kirov Alexei Navalny to 5 years in prison for embezzlement of property of Kirovles. He was taken into custody in the courtroom.

Judge of the Leninsky District Court of Kirov Sergei Blinov found guilty opposition leader and candidate for Moscow mayor Alexei Navalny in the Kirovles criminal case here on Thursday.

Earlier, the prosecutor requested the judge to sentence Navalny and Ofitserov to 6 and 5 years’ imprisonment in a minimum penal colony, as well to a fine of 1 million roubles each. The defence lawyers and the defendants insist on acquittal.

“The court ruled that Navalny masterminded the property embezzlement of the Kirov regional state-run unitary enterprise Kirovles,” the judge began to pronounce the verdict.

The detectives found that “Navalny, being an advisor of the governor in the Kirov Region, masterminded a property embezzlement scheme at the Kirov regional state-run unitary enterprise Kirovles, engaging in a conspiracy with director of the limited liability company Vyatka Forest Company Pyotr Ofitserov and Kirovles Director General Vyacheslav Opalev.” The detectives believe that from May to September 2009 over 10,000 cubic metres of timber were stolen, as a result a damage of 16 million roubles was inflicted to the budget of the Kirov Region.

On December 24, 2012, the Leninsky District Court of Kirov sentenced Opalev, who pleaded guilty and concluded a pre-trial immunity agreement, to four years in suspension. During the investigation he “gave detailed testimony over the details of the crime, which he committed with accomplice Navalny,” the Russian Investigative Committee reported before.

However, neither Navalny nor his supporters, many of whom came to Kirov a few days ago, expected an acquittal. Also, few believe that they will be sentenced to real prison terms. Everybody shared the view that Navalny will be given a suspended sentence.

On the eve of the sentencing Navalny wrote in his Live Journal webpage that he sees two variants of Thursday’s events - “either a suspended sentence or real prison term.” Do not excluding the latter, he and Ofitserov arrived in Kirov without return tickets. Some politicians and public figures, including MPs Dmitry Gudkov, Ilya Ponomarev, Olga Romanova and others have also come to support the defendants.

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