Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny found guilty, given suspended sentence
 Tbilisi 12:09 - 30.12.14 «GHN»
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Outspoken Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been found guilty of fraud in Russia. The date of his sentence had been moved up by two weeks, prompting demonstrations in his support, reports GHN based on DW.
A Moscow court sentenced Alexi Navalny to a 3.5 year suspended jail term on Tuesday for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from two firms, including an affiliate of French comestics company Yves Rocher. His brother Oleg was given three and a half years in prison.
"Aren't you ashamed of what you are doing?" Navalny told the court and judge Yelena Korobchenko. He asked Korobchenko if she was sending Oleg to jail to "punish" him and called the decision to send his brother to prison a "disgrace."
Outside the court house, Navalny kissed Oleg goodbye. News agency AFP reported that he had a parting shot for Putin's government, saying "this regime has no right to exist, it must be destroyed," and calling on his supporters to demonstrate against the court's verdict.
The hearing was deliberately sped up to avoid massive protests, though Navalny's advocates still planned to protest later on Tuesday.
Prosecutors in Moscow had asked the court earlier to move up the date on dissenter Alexei Navalny's case and to sentence him to 10 years in prison, an unusually high sentence for a financial crime. Navalny's sentence hearing was originally scheduled for January 15, prompting thousands of his supporters to stage a protest. The former lawyer and rights activist has been under house arrest since February this year.
Following the court's decision to reschedule the hearing, Navalny's supporters decided to protest on Tuesday. "We have no choice, we need to come out tomorrow and show how numerous we are," protest organizers said on Facebook the previous day.


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