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BRUSSELS, December 31. /TASS/. The European Union has said a Russian court’s guilty verdict to opposition figurehead Alexey Navalny and his brother Oleg Navalny on Tuesday appears to be “politically motivated.”
The charges against the Navanly brothers “have not been substantiated during the trial,” a spokesperson for the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement.
At the same time, the EU has called on supporters of Alexei Navalny to “show restraint" during the protest actions against the court’s decision.
Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky Court on Tuesday handed down a 3.5-year suspended sentence to Alexey Navalny and sentenced to 3.5 years in prison his brother Oleg Navalny after finding both of them guilty of embezzlement in the Yves Rocher company.
The court also ordered the brothers to pay over 4 million rubles ($70,500) in favor of a complainant company in the trial as well as 500,000 rubles ($8,800) each in fines.
Moscow’s Manezhnaya Square was later cordoned off by police as reports on an unauthorized protest rally appeared in social networks.
Around 1,500 people gathered near the square on Tuesday evening for an unsanctioned rally, according to the police. Over 100 people were arrested on charges of violation of public order.