Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is free only one day after having been sentenced to five years in prison. Yesterday, the prosecution in Kirov, that had asked for a 6 year sentence, appealed the actual arrest of Navalny on what seemed like a legal technicality. At a hearing today, the prosecution argued that keeping Navalny in prison would not allow him to run for the mayor of Moscow.
On the other hand, journalists were reporting yesterday that Navalny’s sentence may preclude him from running for office under Russian.
Navalny spoke in the courtroom yesterday, accusing the prosecutor of double dealing:
“Esteemed court, first of all, I would like to bring to your attention the need to ascertain the identity of prosecutor Bogdanov as there is a chance that this is his double sent by members of the opposition, because it was prosecutor Bogdanov who demanded that I be detained in court,” Navalny said.
As for his election bid, Navalny said he will continue to campaign, but it’s unclear in what capacity:
“The election campaign will continue because it is about our communication with the voters, not with commissions,” he said. “As to what form it will take — in the form of a boycott or as the continuation of my election campaign — I will make that decision after I return to Moscow and meet with my campaign team.”
If a convicted politician is barred under Russian law from holding office, then regardless of whether Navalny is in prison or not, he wouldn’t be able to be mayor. Navalny still has an appeal, however, and if he were to win that appeal, he could be allowed to be mayor.
Pictures taken today inside and out of the courtroom.