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Russia lays new theft charges against Putin foe Navalny

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic said on Tuesday he had been served with new theft and money laundering charges, describing them as a part of an attempt to "terrorize" those who displease authorities. Under the charges filed by the federal Investigative Committee, Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg face up to ten years jail. In a separate case, a Russian court handed Navalny, 37, a suspended five-year sentence for theft last month.

Russia indicts protest leader Navalny in fraud case

Russian investigators moved to indict protest leader Alexei Navalny in a fraud and laundering case Tuesday, just days after he walked out of another case with a suspended term. Navalny and his brother Oleg "stole" a total of 30 million rubles and laundered 21 million rubles from French cosmetics company Yves Rocher and a Russian firm MPK, the powerful Investigative Committee said, formally presenting the charges.

Thousands protest Putin's crackdown in Russia

Several thousand Russians marched through central Moscow on Sunday in a new protest at President Vladimir Putin's rule and a judicial crackdown against opponents. Chanting "Putin is a thief" and "Freedom to political prisoners!", protesters marched with flags and portraits of people seen as victims of political persecution, such as jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, members of punk band Pussy Riot, and the Greenpeace Arctic crew.

Greenpeace urges Russia to free activists after piracy charge lifted

Greenpeace on Thursday urged Russia to release its crew members after investigators reduced the charge against them from piracy to hooliganism over their protest on an Arctic oil platform. "Our general position has not changed: the investigation must wind up this laughable case, apologise and set them all free," Greenpeace lawyer Anton Beneslavsky told AFP. Russia's powerful Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes, late Wednesday announced it was softening the charge against the 30 crew members.

Navalny returns to Moscow free man after suspension of term

Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny on Thursday returned to Moscow a free man after a court in the northern Kirov region turned his five-year penal colony sentence in a controversial fraud case into a suspended term. Accompanied by his wife Yulia and co-accused Pyotr Ofitserov who was also allowed to walk free, Navalny arrived at Yaroslavsky railway station in Moscow on the night train from Kirov to a welcome of flowers and kisses from supporters. Looking relaxed and happy, Navalny chose to make no comment to the media and drove off with his wife in a waiting car.

Russian opposition leader Navalny avoids jail, vows defiance

By Gabriela Baczynska KIROV, Russia (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin's chief political opponent walked free from a Russian court on Wednesday after it suspended his five-year sentence for theft, and said he could never be "hounded" out of political life. The conviction, however, will prevent Alexei Navalny, borne to prominence nearly two years ago by the biggest protests of Putin's 13-year rule, from seeking elected office for several years. He said he would appeal.

Top Putin critic avoids prison on appeal

Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny on Wednesday escaped being sent to a penal colony on controversial charges he claims were ordered by the Kremlin after a court converted his five-year sentence into a suspended term. President Vladimir Putin's top critic walked free from court after the appeal verdict, although the embezzlement conviction that disqualifies him from politics remains in place.

Facing jail, Putin foe Navalny appeals theft conviction

By Gabriela Baczynska KIROV, Russia (Reuters) - Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny asked an appeals court on Wednesday to throw out a theft conviction and five-year jail sentence he was handed in July, saying the charge was fabricated and politically motivated. An anti-corruption blogger who helped lead a wave of protests that erupted two years ago, Navalny was found guilty of stealing timber while working as an adviser to the governor of the remote Kirov region in 2009.

Top Putin critic avoids prison on appeal

Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny on Wednesday escaped being sent to a penal colony on controversial charges he claims were ordered by the Kremlin after a court converted his five-year sentence into a suspended term. President Vladimir Putin's most vehement critic walked free from court after the appeal verdict, although the embezzlement conviction that disqualifies him from politics remains in place. The three judges hearing the appeal at the regional court in the northern Kirov region said they would "change the sentence for Alexei Navalny into a suspended term."

Russian opposition politician risks jail in key hearing

Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny Wednesday faced a court hearing that could halt his soaring political career or even see him led away to serve up to five years in a penal colony. A regional court in the northern city of Kirov began hearing his appeal against a five-year sentence in a disputed fraud case, with a nervous-looking Navalny present in court along with his co-accused Pyotr Ofitserov.
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