STRASBOURG, July 19 (Itar-Tass) - Rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Russia Andreas Gross (Switzerland) and Theodora Bakoyannis (Greece) are convinced that the trial against Alexei Navalny “had all the traces of political trial.” The PACE press service has made public their joint statement on Friday.
The accusations brought against Navalny were groundless, the co-rapporteurs believe. Even if he breached the law, the court verdict was absolutely disproportionate to the offence he committed, they believe.
In the view of Gross and Bakoyannis, the trial against Navalny fanned up the suspicions over the independence of the judicial system in Russia.
The Leninsky District Court of Kirov found guilty Alexei Navalny of masterminding a massive property embezzlement scheme and Pyotr Ofitserov of abetting to property embezzlement on July 18. The court sentenced Navalny to five years in a general security penitentiary with a fine of 500,000 roubles and Ofitserov to four years in prison and a fine of 500,000 roubles. They were taken in custody in the courtroom and were brought to the Kirov detention centre. On Thursday evening, the prosecutor’s office of the Kirov Region, which represented the public prosecution, has lodged an appeal against the court verdict of the Leninsky District Court of Kirov to change the measure of restraint from the keeping in custody to the recognizance not to leave the city. On Friday, the Kirov District Court changed the measure of restraint to Navalny and Ofitserov from the keeping in custody to the recognizance not to leave the city before the court verdict to them enters in legal force.