KIROV, May 3. /TASS/. Defense attorneys have filed a request to overturn the conviction against Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny and businessman Pyotr Ofitserov who got suspended sentences in the Kirovles embezzlement case, attorney Vadim Kobzev said at the Kirov Regional Court, which is entertaining an appeal against the verdict on Wednesday.
"I ask to cancel the verdict and acquit my client Navalny," the lawyer stated.
The defense considers the verdict by the court of first instance illegal, asking to acquit the defendants and rescind the court ruling. "The court ignored the political nature of Navalny’s prosecution. "We had been refused to subpoena witnesses and conduct an expert examination," Kobzev said.
On February 8, Kirov’s Leninsky District Court handed Alexey Navalny a suspended five-year prison sentence after finding him guilty of embezzlement in the Kirovles case. Likewise, the other defendant in the retried case, Pyotr Ofitserov, was given a four-year suspended sentence. Both Navalny and Ofitserov were also ordered to pay a fine of 500,000 rubles ($7,800).
In July 2013, Navalny was found guilty of embezzling funds from the Kirovles company, located in the central part of European Russia, and given a five-year suspended sentence as part of the case. On November 16, 2016, the presidium of Russia’s Supreme Court overturned the sentence against Navalny. The case was transferred to Kirov’s Leninsky District Court for a retrial following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which said that Navalny’s right to have a fair trial had been violated.