Russian Supreme Court overturns Navalny’s, Ofitserov's sentences in Kirovles case
MOSCOW, November 16 (RAPSI, Oleg Sivozhelezov) – Russia's Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned sentences against opposition politician Alexey Navalny, his accomplice Pyotr Ofitserov in Kirovles embezzlement case and sent it for retrial, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.
Russia's Supreme Court delivered the ruling taking into consideration the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Nevertheless, the ruling of the Supreme Court didn't meet expectations of both prosecutors and defense lawyers.
Prosecutors claimed that the sentences against Navalny and Ofitserov should be upheld.
Defense lawyers in their turn requested that Navalny and Ofitserov should be acquitted.
Navalny himself expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling of the Supreme Court.
The ECHR ruled in February that Russia violated Navalny's and and Ofitserov’s right to a fair trial.
In particular, according to ECHR, sentences against them were issued with numerous violations because of a lot of references being made regarding another defendant – Vyacheslav Opalyov. Proceedings against Opalyov were treated as a separated criminal case after he admitted his guilt.
Additionally, ECHR noted that Russian courts failed to review claims by defense that Kirovles case may have a political motive behind it and did not provide adequate evaluations of such claims. ECHR itself did not find a political motive in the case. The court ruled to compensate Navalny with 48,000 euro of legal costs and Ofitserov with 22,000 euro. Additionally Russia is to pay 8,000 euro each in damages.
Russia’s Justice Ministry filed a request seeking referral of the case to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR, but the request was dismissed.
Navalny was given a five-year suspended sentence for embezzlement at the Kirovles timber company in July 2013. In May, Moscow's Lyublinsky District Court increased a probation period for him to 5.5 years. Ofitserov received a four-year suspended sentence.
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 from Kirovles company between May and September 2009. Investigators claimed that Pyotr Ofitserov who was then Director of Vyatka Timber Company and Kirovles CEO Vyacheslav Opalyov were involved in the scheme.