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Russian Activist's Defense Witnesses Not Allowed To Testify In Court

Aleksei Navalny speaks during a court hearing in Kirov on June 17. He says the charge is politically motivated.
All 13 defense witnesses of Russian anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny have been barred from testifying at his embezzlement trial in the city of Kirov.

Announcing his decision on June 18, Judge Sergei Blinov said Navalny's defense lawyers had "failed to clarify what the witnesses could say in the courtroom."

Meanwhile, 30 witnesses for the prosecution have testified at the trial since it started in April.

The vocal Kremlin critic is accused of embezzling the equivalent of $510,000 from the Kirovles lumber company while working as an adviser to Kirov Oblast Governor Nikita Belykh in 2009.

Navalny says the charge is politically motivated.

Meanwhile, the Coordination Council of the Russian Opposition announced on June 18 that it supported Navalny's nomination by the Parnas party as a candidate for Moscow mayor in the September 8 election.

Based on reporting by and