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Navalny’s embezzlement case to be retried in court in December

MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. A district court in the city of Kirov in the central part of European Russia has scheduled a retrial of a criminal case against opposition activist and blogger Alexei Navalny and his associate Pyotr Ofitserov for December 5.

"Today at 8.30 a.m. my lawyers received a call from the court and were told that the first hearing will be at 9.00 a.m. Moscow time on December 5," Navalny wrote on his website on Thursday.

In July 2013, Navalny was found guilty of embezzling the funds of Kirovles company in the Kirov region and given a five-year suspended sentence as part of the Kirovles case. The second defendant, the former head of the Vyatka Forest Company, Pyotr Ofitserov, received a four-year suspended sentence.

The case will be reviewed by the Leninsky district court of Kirov due to the new circumstances.

Meanwhile, Navalny said he is not planning to come to Kirov for the hearing. He complained that he has not so far received compensation for his expenses on lawyers and trips to Kirov during the first process as stipulated by the decision of the European Court of Human Rights.

"The European Court of Human Rights ordered to pay my expenses incurred during the first process, that’s €48,000 (3.3 mln rubles), including the expenses on the lawyers confirmed by documents and tickets to Kirov. "The verdict has been overturned as illegal, and the Leninsky court is rushing to schedule a retrial," Navalny said.

The blogger plans to ask the judge to let him take part in the retrial via video conference or cover the costs of the trip. Navalny also wants the judge to repay a 500,000 ruble penalty saying it had been collected from him illegally.

The presidium of Russia’s Supreme Court overturned on November 16 the sentence against Navalny and Ofitserov who were found guilty of embezzling funds belonging to the Kirovles company. The case was transferred to Kirov’s Leninsky district court for a retrial.

The Supreme Court’s presidium initiated a check into the case following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which said that Navalny’s rights to have a fair trial had been violated.