Friday, April 5, 2013

Navalny Ready To Stand Trial, Run for President

Charismatic Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a leading critic of President Vladimir Putin, declared his ambition to stand for president as he prepares for a trial that could see him jailed. Navalny said he expected to be convicted in the embezzlement case, which his supporters claim is politically motivated, but insisted he did not fear prison and would jail his top foes (including Vladimir Putin) if he came to power. A Russian court announced Thursday that Navalny would go on trial on April 17 in the provincial city of Kirov in the case, which concerns a business deal struck by the local government he advised in 2009. If found guilty, he faces up to 10 years in jail. "I do not doubt that the verdict will be guilty," said Navalny, who vehemently maintains he is innocent. He noted that under Russian law even a suspended jail sentence would disqualify him for running for office. He said he did not fear "any kind of sentence" but added, "Like any normal person, I don't have the slightest desire to end up in jail." (video)

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