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Mon, 14 Sep, 2015 12:06:27 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Sep 14

A Russian opposition party leader arrested in Finland in late August is considering applying for asylum in the country.

Vasili Popov, leader of the opposition United Democratic Party (Yabloko) of Russia, has already been detained in absentia and is wanted by Interpol.

Popov who had a travel ban imposed on him by a Russian court told the news agency STT that he wants to clear his name with the help of the Finnish police before the possible asylum application.

He was taken away by the police from his home in Joensuu, eastern Finland on August 28.

“I believe the Finnish police can clear my name. As long as the charges are examined, I will consider applying for asylum in Finland,” Popov told STT.

Popov does not believe he will be entitled to a fair trial in Russia.

“First, I will probably be remanded in custody for some years before handing of the sentence. Then there would be a conviction because an acquittal would be a scandal for the Republic of Karelia governor,” he said.

According to Popov, Karelia Republic Governor Aleksandr Hudilainen wants to put pressure on Galina Sirshina, the 2013-elected mayor of Petrozavodsk to launch criminal investigations against opposition leaders.

Popov was one of Sirshina’s main financiers during elections.

Now Popov and his wife are accused of real estate acquisition below the market value by taking advantage of their relations in the administration.

Hudilainen has denied that he is behind Popov’s prosecution.
 

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