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Russia top opposition leader faces jail term

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is detained by the police during a protest in central Moscow.

Russian prosecutors have demanded jail term for a top opposition leader suspected of embezzlement.

Alexei Navalny appeared before a court in the central Russian city of Kirov on Friday.

If convicted, the 37-year-old opposition leader could face a six-year jail term. In that case, he will effectively remain behind bars until after the next presidential election in 2018.

The prosecutors also asked the court to fine him about USD 30,000.

Navanly is accused of causing around USD 500,000 loss to the budget of the northern Kirov region in a deal while working for a liberal regional governor.

“I believe that the punishment proposed by the state is just and proportionate to the committed crime and the loss suffered by the state,” prosecutor Sergei Bogdanov told the court, adding, “It will also serve as a lesson to others who intend to commit this sort of crime.”

The opposition leader, however, denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated.

Navanly has led demonstrations against President Vladimir Putin and exposed the government’s alleged corruption.

He recently expressed his willingness to run for president.

The verdict is expected on July 18.


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