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Russian Opposition Politician Volkov Gives Final Statement, Awaits Verdict

Russian opposition politician Leonid Volkov has made his final statement as defendant in the so-called “Microphone Case,” the MediaZona news website reported Monday.

Volkov was arrested on July 17, 2015 after activists from the far-right People's Liberation Front (NOD) staged an unsanctioned picket outside the PARNAS political party office in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.

Protesters threw eggs and surged toward prominent opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny. While eggs flew, Volkov prevented a cameraman from state-run television channel LifeNews, who was filming the incident, from approaching Navalny by holding him back and holding the camera’s microphone.

The cameraman later claimed Volkov had damaged the microphone and Volkov was also accused of preventing the work of a journalist through violence — a charge which carries a maximum sentence of six years.

Prosecutors have asked that Volkov be recognized as guilty and be handed a two-year suspended sentence.

Volkov has maintained his innocence, reiterating during his final statement his belief that the case against him is politically motivated and an attempt to prevent him from running in elections.

“All actions taken by Russian state bodies toward me and my fellow campaigners since 2012 embody a long list of crimes; prevention from participating in elections, electoral fraud and oppression of political competition,” Volkov said. The case brought against him by LifeNews was a further instrument of political suppression, he added.

A verdict is expected on Aug. 31.

“Thank you very much to everyone who came today to support on the last word. Sentencing is Aug. 31, 8:30 a.m. (Yes, Yes, it's 4:30 MSK!), Volkov posted on Twitter following the court hearing.

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