Russian opposition leader found guilty of embezzlement; his lawyers pledge to appeal

photo Russian opposition leader found guilty of embezzlement; his lawyers pledge to appeal images

photo of Russian opposition leader found guilty of embezzlement; his lawyers pledge to appeal

Russian opposition leader found guilty of embezzlement; his lawyers pledge to appeal : A Russian opposition leader who planned to challenge President Vladimir Putin in next year’s election was found guilty Wednesday in the retrial of a 2013 fraud case, formally eliminating him as a candidate.

A Russian opposition leader who planned to challenge President Vladimir Putin in next year’s election was found guilty Wednesday in the retrial of a 2013 fraud case, formally eliminating him as a candidate.

A Kirov court judge found Alexei Navalny, 40, guilty of embezzlement and pronounced him the head of a criminal group that allegedly stole timber worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from a state-run company. At the time, Navalny served as an assistant to Kirov  politician Nikita Belykh, another opposition figure who is now awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Judge Alexei Vtyurin issued a five-year suspended sentence for Navalny, a key figure in large anti-government protests in Moscow, during a webcast hearing. Russian nationals serving sentences for convictions for serious crimes are ineligible for the presidency, according to Russian election law.

After the sentencing, Navalny told reporters he planned to continue to oppose corruption in Russia.

"What we saw today is a cable from the Kremlin, a cable saying that they consider me, my team and the people whose views I express too dangerous to let us run in the presidential election," Navalny said. "But I will continue to represent the people that want to see Russia as a normal, honest, corruption-free country."

The suspended sentence is widely seen as the easiest way for the Kremlin to prevent Navalny from running without turning him into an imprisoned martyr like oil tycoon and government critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent almost a decade behind bars and now funds opposition activists and media from exile in Switzerland. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters Wednesday the Navalny sentence should not taint the 2018 election and Moscow does not “consider such fears appropriate.”

Navalny cut his teeth in politics by publishing investigative reports about corruption in Russia’s state companies and the personal fortunes of Putin’s coterie. He went on to lead the 2011-2012 rallies, Russia’s largest in decades, that protested election fraud and Putin’s return for a third presidency.

The Kremlin responded to the rallies with a massive crackdown. Hundreds of protesters were arrested, and dozens faced trial and were sentenced to jail; one of the defendants committed suicide. Opposition leaders, including Navalny, were interrogated and had their offices and apartments searched.

Pro-Kremlin media ran reports vilifying the opposition and saying they received funding from Washington. The Kremlin toughened punishment for holding unsanctioned rallies and labeled Western-funded nongovernment organizations “foreign agents.”

In 2013, Navalny was found guilty of embezzlement in a trial he and his supporters called Kremlin-orchestrated, and was sentenced to five years in jail. But after massive rioting in Moscow, the sentence was later reduced to suspended.

While appealing the sentence —  which gave him a legal loophole to run for office — Navalny ran for mayor of Moscow. During his campaign, he lambasted the influx of dark-skinned labor migrants to Russia’s capital —  and came in second with 27% of the vote. 

Navalny’s anti-migrant rhetoric, along with his participation in ultranationalist rallies frequented by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, alienated some of Russia’s liberal democrats, but added to his popularity among Russians critical of the Kremlin amid growing xenophobia. Meanwhile, his Fund to Fight Corruption kept releasing reports detailing the holdings of top Russian officials.

Last year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia violated Navalny’s right to a fair trial in 2013, and the Supreme Court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial.

On Wednesday, the judge read a lengthy verdict that “copied and pasted” the 2013 verdict, Navalny commented in a tweet. 

Navalny, clad in a white shirt and sporting a crew cut, said later in remarks broadcast in a live stream during a break: "The new and the old sentence coincide 100%." 

He said the verdict was punishment designed to scare other Kremlin critics and political activists. 

“I know for sure that [the verdict] won't make political activism easier —  neither for me, nor for the rest of independent politicians and activists,” Navalny wrote in a statement posted on his website before the verdict Wednesday.  “One more act of intimidation won't work on everyone, but it will work on someone, that's why they're doing it.”

He also pledged to run for president as his lawyers appeal his conviction.

Source www.latimes.com.


related Russian opposition leader found guilty of embezzlement; his lawyers pledge to appeal

Angels' Matt Shoemaker feels good as he comes back from line drive to the head and brain surgery

Matt Shoemaker and his wife were raised near Detroit and they do not intend to move from the area any time soon, but spending baseball off-seasons in the cold presents problems.

Thousands march against Trump in Mexico City: 'Pay for your own wall!'

Thousands of demonstrators waving Mexican flags and hoisting signs denouncing President Trump marched through central Mexico City on Sunday, the largest mobilization so

The man just elected as Germany's next president once called Trump a 'hate preacher'

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s long-serving foreign minister who once called Donald Trump a “hate preacher,” was elected as the country’s 12th post-war president on Sunday by a

In Somalia, famine is looming and families with no food or water are leaving their land

In Somalia, the farm animals are dying. The water holes have dried up. The crops have failed.

Court's ruling on travel ban is the kind of setback that prompts presidents to make big changes. Will Trump?

When other presidents were dealt the kind of jolting setback that President Trump received from the courts this week, they learned from those moments to alter their approaches to

An interrupted journey ends in a new life in the U.S. for Syrian refugee family

Dense desert fog enveloped Queen Alia International Airport outside Amman, Jordan. Zohri A., a Syrian mechanic who was about to fly to the United States with his wife and four

Mike Ilitch dead, Little Caesars founder and Detroit team owner was 87

City leaders heaped praise on the man known simply as “Mr. I” to most in Michigan for all that he put into Detroit

NFL warns Texas over "bathroom bill": No Super Bowl for you!

Similar to a grassroots campaign against North Carolina, NFL joins chorus against "discriminatory" measure

Immigrants wait in fear over raids; Trump takes credit

For days, fear and confusion have gripped immigrant communities after word spread that federal agents were rounding up hundreds of immigrants in cities across the country

Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch describes his most significant cases

Nominee returns 68-page questionaire to Senate Judciary Committee ahead of March confirmation hearings

Trump and Japan's Abe tee off at Florida golf course

The president tweeted that he was having a "great time" hosting the Japanese prime minister

Is Trump reconsidering moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel?

As a candidate, Trump vowed to move American Embassy from Tel Aviv to holy city of Jerusalem

Trump attacks on judiciary raise safety concerns for judges

Experts worry that president's criticism of judiciary could make judges a more inviting target

Trump travel ban opponents look to score win in Virginia

Virginia attorney general seeks to rack up another legal victory against controversial measure

Number of monarch butterflies in Mexico drops, reversing recovery

Experts say the decline could be due to late winter storms last year that blew down more than 100 acres of forests

Barack Obama: Eight Years in the White House

On 60 Minutes, President Obama discusses his two terms as commander-in-chief, Donald Trump and what has been one of the strangest presidential transitions in history

Officials order evacuation of residents near Calif. dam

Officials said a “hazardous situation is developing” after an emergency spillway severely eroded

Pentagon tackles WWII ship disaster mystery

The mystery is whether dozens of U.S. sailors listed as missing were actually recovered and buried as unknowns

Rockets fired after deadly Baghdad protests, officials say

The rocket attack left no casualties as the munitions landed on the parade grounds in the center of the Green Zone

For the first time since Trump took office, N. Korea fires ballistic missile

U.N. Security Council is set to meet in urgent closed-door consultations Monday at request of U.S., South Korea and Japan, an official confirmed

Recent europe

mmc-news.com