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Putin Calls Navalny Court Sentence 'Strange'

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 25
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he finds it "strange" that Kremlin and Putin critic Aleksei Navalny was sentenced to five years in prison while a co-defendant in the case who testified against Navalny received a suspended sentence.

Putin, speaking at a Kremlin-organized camp for young activists in Seliger, in Tver region north of Moscow, on August 2, made the comment without mentioning Navalny or the co-defendant, Vyacheslav Opalev, by name as he answered questions from youthful supporters.

Navalny was sentenced to five years in prison last month partly due to Opalev’s testimony that Navalny had conspired to defraud the government of the northern Kirov region of more than $500,000 in a timber deal.

Navalny and rights groups have accused Russian authorities of politically motivated persecution.

Despite receiving a five-year prison sentence, Navalny was later released and will compete in the upcoming Moscow mayoral election in September.

Based on reporting by Interfax and AFP