Russia: Court lightens sentence of government critic

- Alexei Navalny, who was convicted on alleged embezzlement charges, is popular in Russia because of his blog that documented alleged Russian govt. corruption.

MOSCOW (AA) - A court lightened the sentence of a government critic known for his anti-Kremlin blog posts and activism at his appeal hearing Tuesday.

Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg Navalny were both convicted of embezzlement on Dec. 30, 2014. The court had sentenced Alexei to two-years of probation, three and a half years of house arrest, and a 500,000 ruble fine; Oleg was sentenced to three and half years in prison and also fined 50,000 rubles.

While the city court in capital Moscow did not overturn the brothers' conviction, it decided to lighten Alexei's sentence by canceling his house arrest order and the 500,000 ruble fine. However, Alexei's probation was extended from two to five years; he is now allowed to leave Moscow, but cannot leave the country. 

The court, however, did not change Oleg's jail sentence and fine.

About his brother’s sentence, Alexei tweeted, "Well yes, corrupt terrorists don't release their hostages."

Alexei Navalny became popular in Russia because of his blog that documented alleged corruption in the Russian government. During the anti-government protests in Moscow between 2011 and 2012, Navalny came to be seen by many as the face of the Russian opposition.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency