Skip to main content

Convicted opposition leader Navalny vows to win Moscow mayor's race

By David Simpson, for CNN
July 20, 2013 -- Updated 0937 GMT (1737 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "We are a huge, powerful force," Navalny tells crowd in Moscow
  • Opposition leader is facing a five-year prison term
  • Navalny will appeal his conviction, denies he misappropriated money in a lumber deal
  • He vows not to waver again about finishing mayoral campaign

(CNN) -- Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, facing a five-year prison term and free pending an appeal, returned to Moscow on Saturday and vowed he will be elected mayor.

Hundreds of supporters and journalists met Navalny's train as he returned from his trial in Kirov, according to state-run Ria Novosti.

"We are a huge, powerful force," Navalny told the crowd. "I'm very glad that we've started to recognize that force ourselves. ... I want to apologize to you for not believing so strongly in you."

His apology referred to his statements Friday that he was not certain he would run for mayor. By Saturday, he was declaring, "We will go to the elections and we will win," Rio Novosti reported.

Will Navalny conviction hurt opposition?
Pussy Riot husband describes Navalny
Khodorkovsky: Courts used to oppress

Navalny was detained overnight Thursday after a court in Kirov city found him guilty of misappropriating about $500,000 in a lumber deal when he was an adviser to the region's governor. He was released Friday.

Navalny denied wrongdoing and said he was targeted because he is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most outspoken critics.

'A parody of a prosecution'

Navalny's conviction and sentencing Thursday prompted wide condemnation.

The European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, called the trial a sham. And former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev issued a statement saying the case "unfortunately confirms that we do not have an independent judiciary."

Navalny has been a prominent organizer of street protests, and has attacked corruption in Russian government.

"Navalny's prosecution is meant to silence a leader and messenger," said Rachel Denber, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Europe division

Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia program director, John Dalhuisen, said, "This was a parody of a prosecution and a parody of a trial. The case was twice closed for lack of evidence of a crime, before being reopened on the personal instruction of Russia's top investigator."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 16, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT