[JURIST] A Russian appellate court on Tuesday upheld the 3.5 year prison sentences of lead opposition activist Alexei Navalny [personal website, in Russian; JURIST news archive] and his brother, Oleg Navalny. Both brothers were sentenced [JURIST report] last December, fined 500,000 rubles (USD $8,500) and ordered to together pay 4.4 million rubles (USD $76,000) in damages. On appeal, prosecutors asked the judge to extend Alexei’s suspended sentence to ten years [Reuters report], but the judge denied the request. He did, however, annul Alexei’s 500,000-ruble fine. Oleg has been serving his prison sentence since December. Meanwhile, Alexei has been known to repeatedly violate [RT report] his house arrest.
The Navalny brothers were charged [Russian Legal Information Society report] with embezzling approximately 30 million rubles (USD $518,000) from cosmetics company Yves Rocher Vostok [corporate website] and the Multidisciplinary Processing Company (MPC) by a fraud scheme between 2008 and 2012. A spokesperson for the European Union (EU) [official website] issued a statement [text] claiming that Navalny trial was politically motivated.