Russian protester faces trial after defying Putin

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Russian protester faces trial after defying Putin

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The trial of a prominent Russian protest leader is set to begin in the city of Kirov.

Alexei Navalny could face up to ten years in jail if he is convicted.

The 36-year-old anti-corruption blogger is sure he will be found guilty of a charge of theft, mainly because he believes President Vladimir Putin has orchestrated the case.

Fellow opposition members claim the trial is part of Putin’s clampdown on dissent.

“Even a suspended sentence solves their problem,” Navalny told a group of his supporters.”
He fears it would prevent him from running for the presidency as at any moment it could be turned into a custodial one.

Although he is known to have helped organise protests against Putin’s re-election last May, a government spokesman has denied the president uses the courts for political ends.

Navalny is accused of stealing the equivalent of 400,000 euros from a timber firm he was advising in 2009. It is an accusation he denies.