Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny [personal blog] was found guilty of embezzlement on Wednesday and suspended sentenced of five years and a 500,000-rouble (USD 8,500) fine by a court in Kirov, Russia. Navalny runs the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which investigates the Russian government, and announced he would run for president [BBC report] in 2018. Under Russian law, a prison term for an embezzlement conviction would ban a candidate from running for election. However, Navalny stated that he still intends to run in the presidential election and believes the conviction is an attempt by the government to block his candidacy [Reuters report]. The ruling comes just months after Russia’s Supreme Court overturned [JURIST report] his embezzlement conviction.
This is not the first time Navalny has trouble with the Russian legal system. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered [JURIST report] Russia to pay more than €63,000 for arresting Navalny multiple times between March 2012 and February 2014. In May a Moscow court declined [JURIST report] authorities’ request to convert Navalny’s suspended sentence into a prison term. He had been convicted of fraud and sentenced to three-and-a-half-years suspended sentence. In 2015 Navalny was handed [JURIST report] a 15-day prison sentence for distributing leaflets attempting to publicize an “anti-crisis” demonstration. In 2014 Navalny and his brother, Oleg Navalny, were charged [JURIST report] with embezzling approximately 30 million rubles (USD $518,000) from French cosmetics company, Yves Rocher Vostok, and the Multidisciplinary Processing Company by a fraud scheme between 2008 and 2012.