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Navalny's Request For Further Trial Delay Rejected

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny speaks to journalists after a meeting of the Kirov city court, which postponed the hearing for a week on charges of embezzlement on April 17.
KIROV, Russia -- A court in Russia's Kirov Oblast has rejected a request from anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny for a further delay in his trial.

Navalny had asked for more time for his lawyers to examine the 28 volumes of documents associated with his case.

Navalny is accused of being involved in the theft of timber worth 16 million rubles ($510,000) when he worked for Kirov’s governor.

The court decided on April 23 that his lawyers have had enough time.

Navalny's trial began on April 17, but the judge agreed to a one-week delay to allow defense lawyers to become familiar with the case.

He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Navalny has called the charges against him politically motivated.

On April 18, one day after the Kirov trial was adjourned, the authorities announced that a new criminal investigation had been launched against Navalny and his brother, Oleg, over a disadvantageous contract they "convinced" a company to sign.

Navalny, 36, was at the forefront of last year's opposition protests against Vladimir Putin's presidential election victory.

He first came to prominence by exposing corruption in state-controlled companies on his blog and with published articles. He has also publicized the undeclared properties and bank accounts of government officials.

Navalny announced earlier this month that he would like to run for president.

He said that if he ever came to power, he would ensure prosecutors launch investigations against Putin and two prominent businessmen close to him, Gennady Timchenko and Arkady Rotenberg.

"All of them are links in this despicable, thieving chain of government," he said.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS