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US disappointed in Navalny's conviction - Michael McFaul

July 18, 2013, 16:40 UTC+3
U.S. Ambassador to Russia sees "apparent political motivations in this trial"
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MOSCOW, July 18 (Itar-Tass) - U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said his country was deeply disappointed in the conviction of anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny.

“We are deeply disappointed in the conviction of Navalny and the apparent political motivations in this trial,” McFaul wrote in his Twitter on Thursday.

The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, has also issued a statement on the matter today. "The High Representative is concerned about the guilty verdict and the prison sentences handed down today by the Kirov Court against Alexey avalny, member of the Russian opposition coordination council and anti-corruption campaigner, and his co-defendant Pyotr Ofitserov. The charges against them have not been substantiated during the trial. Civil society has a vital role to play in exposing wrongdoing and defending human rights, and it should not be stifled. This outcome, given the procedural shortcomings, raises serious questions as to the state of the rule of law in Russia. The High Representative hopes that their sentences will be reconsidered in the appeal process" the official statement reads.

Concerns over the court verdict in Navalny's case has also raised UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. "Concerned by conviction of Alexei Navalny, selective justice in Russia and lack of adherence to international human rights obligations" the representative of Great Britain's Foreign Office twitted.

Opposition leader and candidate for Moscow mayor Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to five years in prison for masterminding a property embezzlement scheme at the Kirovles enterprise on Thursday. The second defendant, former director of the limited liability company Vyatka Forest Company Pyotr Ofitserov was sentenced to four years in prison.

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