Prosecutor seeks 6 years jail for top Russian opposition leader

KIROV (AFP) - A Russian prosecutor on Friday demanded a six-year jail sentence for Russia's top opposition leader Alexei Navalny on embezzlement charges in a case he says is politically motivated.

"Six years in a standard regime penal colony and a million ruble (US$38,000) fine," Navalny tweeted from the courtroom in the central Russian city of Kirov as the prosecutor read out the charges.

The prosecutor had moments earlier told the court that he wanted Navalny found guilty "and arrested in the courtroom" after the verdict is read out.

Navalny was expected to issue his final statement later on Friday. A scheduling of the verdict was also expected.

The charismatic 37-year-old stands accused of causing a half-million-dollar loss to the northern Kirov region in a timber deal in 2009 when he acted as an unpaid advisor to the governor.

But Navalny, who plans to run for Moscow mayor later this year, and his supporters see the case as part of the Kremlin's bid to silence critics of President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny, a lawyer by training, has been leading his own defence and has repeatedly tried to prove that no one was hurt in the business deal. He has also argued that his own role in the deal was very limited.

The Kirov governor - liberal-leaning veteran of politics Nikita Belykh - has testified in court as a witness for the defence.