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Russian Prosecutors Want 10-Year Jail Term for Opposition Activist Navalny

Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny attends a court hearing in Moscow on Dec. 19, 2014. Maxim Zmeyev / Reuters

Russian prosecutors said Friday that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny should be imprisoned for 10 years and his brother Oleg for eight years if found guilty of stealing more than 30 million rubles ($500,000).

The two are accused of stealing from two firms including an affiliate of the French cosmetics company Yves Rocher between 2008 and 2012.

Navalny, who led mass protests against President Vladimir Putin three years ago, and his brother say they are innocent of the charges and have dismissed them as part of a Kremlin campaign to stifle dissent.

Prosecutor Nadezhda Ignatova told the Moscow court that the 10-year term would cover those charges and an earlier conviction for embezzling 16 million rubles from a state timber company.

"The guilt of the defendant has been fully proven," she said.

Navalny, a Western-educated anti-corruption blogger, sighed after the prosecutor spoke, saying: "At least it's easy to count."

Currently under house arrest, Navalny is serving a suspended five-year jail term for the timber conviction last year which Kremlin critics also call a sham.

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