Dec 19, 2014 8:10 AM
Russia to seek 10 years in prison for opposition activist
The Associated Press
MOSCOW (AP) Russian prosecutors on Friday demanded that an opposition activist be imprisoned for 10 years on allegations of fraud.
In their closing arguments in a Moscow courthouse, prosecutors asked a judge to convict Alexei Navalny and imprison him for nine years, with an additional year added because of a prior conviction.
In a previous trial in 2013, Navalny was charged with embezzlement and sentenced to prison, but he was released the next day after thousands of people protested in the streets of Moscow. He was handed a suspended sentence instead.
The request for such a lengthy prison sentence this time unusual for financial crimes in Russia sends a signal that the government may no longer have any qualms about putting Navalny behind bars. Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval ratings have soared to over 80 percent.
Navalny, along with his brother Oleg, is on trial for allegedly defrauding a French cosmetics company in a criminal case in which no injured party has stepped forward. The prosecutors demanded that Navalny's brother be imprisoned for eight years.
After becoming an online sensation with corruption investigations of Russia's elite, Navalny became one of the leaders of anti-government protests in 2012.
(An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that prosecutors demanded six years in prison for Oleg Navalny, not eight.)