Trial of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny resumes | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 24.04.2013
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Trial of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny resumes

The trial of Russian opposition leader and anti-government activist Alexei Navalny has reopened in the north-western city of Kirov. Navalny faces jail on embezzlement charges, which he claims are politically motivated.

Navalny's lawyers asked the court to send the case back to the prosecution, as the trial resumed on Wednesday in Kirov, some 900 kilometers (560 miles) east of Moscow.

The opposition leader's defense team accused investigators of committing numerous procedural errors and submitting conflicting information in the final indictment.

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Trial of opposition leader resumes

"Our demands are reasonable," Navalny told reporters during a court recess.

"The case cannot be heard in its current state, it is raw." The judge had not yet responded to the defense request.

Defense sought more time

The trial against Navlny, one of President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics, opened last week but was adjourned after his lawyers asked for more time to study the documents.

The 36-year-old is accused of heading an organized criminal group that embezzled 16 million rubles ($500,000) from a state timber company. If convicted he not only faces up to a decade in prison, but also risks losing his reputation as an anti-corruption activist.

Navalny insists the charges were drawn up by Putin in an act of revenge for his exposure of high-level corruption and to sideline him as a potential presidential rival.

His trial is the latest in a series of high-profile court cases denounced by the opposition as being politically motivated. It follows the jailing of anti-Kremlin tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and members of the radical punk group Pussy Riot.

Navalny is responsible for organizing the biggest anti-government protests in Russia since Putin rose to power 13 years ago.

ccp/ipj (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)

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