Berlin, 18th July 2013: Aleksej Navalny, Moscow city mayor candidate of the opposition Parnas party has been condemned to five years in prison by the Leninski district court in Kirov. The judges found Navalny guilty of embezzling 400.000 € from a timber firm while advising the Kirov gouvernor in 2009. According to independent experts and lawyers the conviction has to be assessed as a political decision. Aleksej Navalny has become famous as a harsh critic of the endemic corruption among leading groups of the Russian government and has published a series of articles and research about corrupt practice in today's Russia. According to Russian legislation Aleksej Navalny will be banned from participation in the Moscow city mayor elections if the judgement will come into effect. The fairness of the upcoming elections of Moscow city mayor which will be held on September 8th is thereby seriously put under question. European Exchange recalls a similar case where the elected city mayor of Jaroslaw, Evgenij Urlashov who won the seat of city mayor over the candidate of Edinnaya Rossija in April 2012 has been deprived of power by court decision of the Moscow based Basmanny court on July 18th 2013. Evgenij Urlashov is now held under investigative custody in Matroskaja Tishina in Moscow. European Exchange is concerned about the restriction of the voters will which are connected with these court decisions in the Navalny and Urlashov cases.

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