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Navalny Not Hopeful of Acquittal in KirovLes Appeal

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Tuesday that he does not expect to be acquitted of embezzlement, a day before his appeal against the guilty verdict in the KirovLes case is heard by a court in Kirov.

"They will give me either a real [prison] term or a suspended one, but they will not acquit me," Navalny said in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets.

In July, Navalny was sentenced to five years in prison after he and his business partner Pyotr Ofitserov were found guilty of embezzling almost $500,000 from a state-owned timber company KirovLes in 2009. His defense team appealed the ruling immediately.

Navalny said that the appeal hearings are likely to last longer than one day due to a number of court procedures pertaining to the case that have been requested by his lawyers.

He downplayed the possibility that he may be arrested in the courtroom on Wednesday, though he did not rule it out completely and is taking the necessary precautions.

"I am traveling with my belongings, so, if everything ends in one day I will not want to find myself in pre-trial detention without food or clothes," he said.

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