[JURIST] A Russian court on Thursday sentenced political activist and lawyer Alexei Navalny [BBC profile] to five years in prison for embezzling USD $500,000 from a state-owned timber company. Navalny, a strong critic of President Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian] and a crusader against alleged governmental corruption, declared that the charges against him were baseless [Al Jazeera report]. The verdict against Navalny drew criticism [BBC report] from his supporters, who contend that the proceedings were politically motivated. US Ambassador...

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