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KIROV, October 16. (ITAR-TASS). — The Kirov Region Court upheld the sentence to Alexei Navalny and Petr Ofitserov over Kirovles property embezzlement case, as announced on Wednesday; however, it was altered to a suspended sentence.
"The sentence of Lenin district court of July 18 against Navalny and Ofitserov is subject to be changed, the sentence to be made suspended," the judge ruled.
Earlier it was reported that the prosecutors asked to recognize the legality of the sentence to Alexei Navalny and Petr Ofitserov that were found guilty.
The defense of Alexei Navalny and Petr Ofitserov asked the court to schedule a financial, economic, accounting and merchandising expertise. A petition was stated during the hearing at the Kirov Oblast Court.
According to the convicted and their lawyers, these studies have to answer a range of questions, the most important of which is the adequacy of the Kirovles prices to market average.
The advocates also ask the court to interrogate several witnesses.
The prosecution took these petitions negatively. The prosecutors said that the case already included expert reports and there were no reasons to doubt the opinion of the experts.
The prosecutors also saw no need in interrogation of witnesses since “a number of statements was examined by the court of the first instance”.
Alexei Navalny then refused to take part in oral arguments on complaint against the guilty verdict regarding the embezzlement of Kirovles property.
Oppositionist Navalny and ex-CEO of Vyatskaya Lesnaya Kompaniya (Vyatka Wood Company) Ofitserov were sentenced by the Lenin District Court of Kirov to 5 and 4 years in general regime penal colony accordingly and fined 500,000 rubles each.
Navalny and Ofitserov were taken into custody in the courtroom and placed in a detention center of Kirov. But on the following day, the Kirov regional court, by prosecutor’s citation, released them on bail until the sentence comes into force. One of the arguments in favor of the release of Alexei Navalny was the fact that he was running for mayor of Moscow, and thus he didn’t intend to hide.
Navalny's lawyer Olga Mikhailova began her presentation by stating that Lenin District Court of Kirov Judge Sergei Blinov largely copied the indictment instead of an independent analysis of the sentencing.
“Some of the pages in the sentence are the same as in the indictment. Even the witnesses’ statements except for the first five. It turns out that the court simply copied the indictment and called it sentence,” the lawyer said.
She also noted the formal, according to the defense, approach of the court to resolve the question of the defendants’ guilt, the numerous refusals to satisfy petitions of the defense, which are essential in the case, as well as violation of “the right for defense and a fair trial, as stipulated by Russian law and the European Convention”.
“In this regard, we have already filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights,” the lawyer said.