Leading Russian Dissident Sentenced to 5 Years

World | July 18, 2013, Thursday // 14:16|  views

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. File photo

A Russian court has controversially sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to five years in jail on embezzlement charges.

The court in the city of Kirov found Navalny guilty of organizing an embezzlement scheme that cost a local state-owned company, KirovLes, some USD 500,000, by forcing it to sell timber at below-market prices when he served as an unpaid advisor to the Kirov Region’s governor in 2009.

Navalny, a Moscow mayoral candidate and vocal Kremlin critic, has denounced the case as politically motivated, according to RIA Novosti.

The conviction, unless overturned upon appeal, will prevent Navalny from running for public office.

The only co-defendant in the trial, Pyotr Ofitserov, was also found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison.

Both men pleaded not guilty and said they plan to appeal. Navalny’s supporters have pledged to hold unsanctioned demonstrations in downtown Moscow and some 20 other cities and towns nationwide on Thursday evening, RIA Novosti informs.

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Tags: opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, sentenced, Russia, opposition

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