July 18 - The White House raised concerns over the conviction of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Alexei Navalny is one of the leading voices of opposition in Russia. Now he has been sentenced to five years in jail for theft -- an unexpectedly tough punishment -- and one that would keep him out of a 2018 presidential vote. Thousands of his supporters converged on a central Moscow Square in outrage -- many were arrested. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) NAVALNY'S SUPPORTER ALEXANDER RYKOV, SAYING: "This is total lawlessness. This came from orders from the top. All of us here understand that if we don't come to protest then it could happen to any of us. White House spokesman Jay Carney (SOUNDBITE) (English)WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN JAY CARNEY , SAYING: "Navalny's harsh prison sentence is the latest example os a disturbing trend of government actions aimed at suppressing decent and civil society in Russia. The numerous procedural shortcomings in this case also also reenforce our broader concerns about rule of law in Russia." As demonstrators headed to the prison where Navalny is held, Russia increased security. His supporters continued to call for his freedom.