RAPSI is holding a live text broadcast from the Leninsky District court of Kirov, where the opposition leader and anti-corruption whistleblower Alexei Navalny was sentenced to 5 years in a penal colony after having been convicted of embezzlement. His co-accused Pyotr Ofitserov was sentenced as well and received 4 years behind bars. Both were handcuffed after the verdict was handed down and detained. The prosecutors have filed a request for them to be released from custody till their appeal against the verdict reaches court and is considered.
11:30 Ok dear RAPSI and/or Navalny fans, that's all we've got for you live from Kirov today. But as this morning has shown us, the judicial life of a mayoral hopeful/embezzlement convict can be unpredictable. So stay close for all the latest details on Kirovles and all other things Navalny. Enjoy your day!
11:18 Before leaving, Navalny vowed to continue to pursue his Moscow mayoral candidacy.
11:12 Delivering his decision, the judge referred to Moscow electoral law and the European Convention of Human Rights.
11:11 Navalny is still shocked that he was called to court for this totally epic outcome this morning, having expected that he was just being called in to respond to yet another criminal case pending against him.
11:10 Ofitserov too is thrilled. He thanks everyone.
11:09 Back to wanting to hug everyone, Navalny is so happy that such a strange hearing actually happened; that this all actually occurred.
11:08 They are to be released right in the courtroom.
11:07 The decision was met with resounding applause. Navalny says he has so much gratitude for the outpouring of support, he wants to hug everyone.
11:06 Navalny and Ofitserov will be released from custody pending the outcome of their appeal.
11:05 Navalny and Ofitserov have permanent places of residence.
11:01 The request was based on the fact of Navalny's candidacy for Moscow mayor, and the concern that he should be afforded the same rights as other candidates.
10:59 He's beginning to deliver his decision.
10:59 The judge has returned to the courtroom.
10:58 Navalny is smiling inside the aquarium.
10:57 Navalny and Ofitserov are back in court.
10:55 The criminal lawyer Oksana Mikhalkina told RAPSI earlier that the activities of prosecutors look controversial in terms of the filed request because it was them who insisted on Navalny and Ofitserov's jail time.
10:47 Meanwhile, it's been about half an hour since the judge left. The court is buzzing with gossip about what may happen next and the whole gnerally unusual state of affairs.
10:43 If you're interested in watching live as the lawyers wait patiently for the judge to return, check out our live video broadcast. You really don't even need to understand Russian to understand this part.
10:29 Ofitserov's lawyers said during the rapid-fire discussion that there was no legitimate basis for putting both men into custody after the verdict was handed down.
10:18 Well, the judge has retired to make his decision.
10:13 Ofitserov too expresses his gratituted.
10:12 Navalny expresses gratituted to everyone who is here.
10:10 Satisfied that everything has been said and done, the judge has already begun deliberating.
10:08 The defense fully supports the prosecutor’s request to allow Navalny and Ofitserov to be released on bail.
10:07 Navalny has expressed shock that this is even happening. In fact, experts told RAPSI earlier that proceedings such as these are exceedingly rare.
10:02 The hearing has begun. The judge presiding over today's hearing is Ignaty Embasinov.
10:02 Navalny is surprised by the number of people in attendance, having thought everyone left yesterday. He and Ofitserov are led into the glass aquarium reserved for prisoners.
10:00 Good morning dear readers! And welcome to a surprise round of live broadcasts from a fresh new Navalny hearing in the aftermath of his embezzlement conviction and five-year sentence yesterday. This morning the court will consider his appeal for release pending his appeal. With you this morning are Maria Gusarova, Ingrid Burke, and Vladimir Yaduta.
According to investigators, while serving on a voluntary basis as an adviser to the Kirov region governor, Navalny organized the theft of over 10,000 cubic meters of timber. It was allegedly stolen from Kirovles company between May and September 2009 in collusion with Vyatka Timber Company Director Pyotr Ofitserov and Kirovles CEO Vyacheslav Opalyov.
The regional budget is estimated to have suffered the loss of 16 million rubles ($514,140) as a result. In May, however, Kirov Governor Nikita Belykh testified to the contrary in court that he had no grounds from which to conclude that Navalny’s actions as his advisor had in fact caused damage to the region’s economic interests and budget. Belykh stipulated however that he could not speak on the point in his official capacity, “because we have not examined the issue.”
Opalyov, who has entered into an agreement with the prosecution, received a four-year suspended sentence.
Navalny said in the interview with Dozhd TV this past April that he expected a conviction in the present case.
Then in July he submitted documents to become registered as a mayoral candidate in Moscow, which will hold snap elections on September 8. A spokesperson for the Moscow City Election Commission Commission told RAPSI on July 12 that if convicted of the Kirovles embezzlement, Navalny’s name will be removed from the mayoral candidate list.
In addition to the Kirovles embezzlement case, investigators have opened three other criminal cases against Navalny, on charges of embezzlement from a political party, deceiving an international cosmetics company, and illegally conspiring to privatize a central Russia distillery.