Thursday, 1 January 2015

'Destroy' Putin, cries foe .........

Russia's top opposition leader Alexei Navalny called for mass protests to "destroy" President Vladimir Putin's regime after a court jailed his brother in a controversial fraud case.

In a lightning hearing yesterday that was abruptly brought forward two weeks, a judge found both Navalny and brother Oleg guilty of embezzlement and sentenced them to 3 years.

But while Navalny's sentence was suspended, his younger brother was ordered to serve the time behind bars in what observers saw as an attempt to muzzle the Kremlin's top critic by taking his brother hostage.
"This regime does not just destroy its political opponents, that is what we are used to ... now they target, torture and torment the relatives of its political opponents," the charismatic Navalny said outside the Moscow court after his handcuffed brother was led away.

"This regime has no right to exist, it must be destroyed," said the man who was a key figure in the mass protests that rocked Russia in the winter of 2011-12.
"I call on everyone to take to the streets today."

Navalny supporters had already been planning to gather near the Kremlin after the reading of the verdict and police barricaded the central Manezhnaya square in a move to preempt the demonstration.
A municipal official later warned that "all unsanctioned actions will be prevented by the security forces.