Court Denies Navalny’s Witnesses

June 19, 2013
Alexei Navalny at the meeting of the Leninsky District Court of Kirov/Sergey Brovko / RIA Novosti

[Lenta has posted this update on Alexey Navalny’s trial for embezzlement, noting that the oppositional leader has been denied the right to call witnesses in his defense. — Ed.]

Judge Sergei Blinov refused to summon any of the witnesses, declared by the defense under the “Kirovles” Case. He ruled that in the motion to summon witnesses “it is not indicated, what exactly these particular witnesses would be able to tell the court”.

The defense believes that in this case the court does not ensure the equality of the participants. “I wonder how they can defend me, if none of our witnesses is summoned to court?” Alexei Navalny wrote in his Twitter account. “Frankly I am shocked, that they refused to admit all the witnesses. Well, I could understand if they admitted some of them and excluded the rest, but to reject ALL?!”

The defense for Alexei Navalny and Pyotr Ofitserov submitted the names of 13 witnesses. In particular, Kirov regional government officials (including the Head of the Forestry Department Ravil Akhmadulin), as well as economic experts were summoned.

During the trial the prosecutors have already laid the case before the court, and heard the testimony of more than 30 witnesses for the prosecution, including the Kirov Governor Nikita Belykh. Navalny and Ofitserov were also questioned. The case has been adjourned until July 2.

Alexei Navalny is charged with embezzlement of the output of the “Kirovles” State Enterprise. The damage has been estimated at 16 mln roubles. Pyotr Ofitserov who was in charge of the “Vyatka Lumber Company” that procured the “Kirovles” products has been charged as an accomplice. According to the investigators, Navalny forced Opalev to sell lumber to the VLC at below-market prices.

Navalny claims that the case has been fabricated. The majority of the witnesses have stated that Navalny did not have the powers to influence decisions made by the regional officials.

The information on the Case can be found at Navalny’s website.