Russian opposition activist given suspended sentence

Moscow, Dec 30 (IANS) Russian opposition activist Aleksey Navalny Tuesday received a suspended three-and-a-half-year sentence in an embezzlement case, a Moscow district court announced.

Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner who is a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been under house arrest since February and has already faced a five-year term for embezzlement last year, but walked away with a suspended sentence.
He was accused of embezzling over $500,000 from French cosmetics company Yves Roche, Russia Today reported.
The charges can attract a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Aleksey Navalny stood trial with his brother Oleg, who was facing an eight-year sentence.
Oleg was also found guilty and received a sentence of three-and-a-half years in prison.
Both brothers were each fined $8,500 and together will have to pay $76,000 to a company listed as one of those affected in the case.
The Navalnys’ lawyers have already appealed Oleg’s sentence.
“Of all the possible verdicts, this one is the meanest,” Aleksey Navalny tweeted.
The court’s verdict was initially scheduled to be made public Jan 15.
“The rearrangement of the date was ‘impossible according to the law’,” Navalny tweeted.
A protest rally is also scheduled to be held in Moscow later in the day. Following the verdict, Navalny once again reminded of the event on Twitter.
Aleksey Navalny shot to prominence during anti-Kremlin protests and again after he came second in the 2013 Moscow mayoral election.