A judge on Wednesday handed down a five-year suspended sentence to opposition leader Alexei Navalny, threatening his plan to run for president in 2018.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, right, and his former colleague Pyotr Ofitserov, left, who were convicted of alleged embezzlement in 2013 speak to journalists in the court in Kirov, Russia on February 8.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, right, and his former colleague Pyotr Ofitserov, left, who were convicted of alleged embezzlement in 2013 speak to journalists in the court in Kirov, Russia on February 8.

A judge in the Russian city of Kirov on Wednesday found opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty in a retrial of an embezzlement case and handed down a five-year suspended sentence. The decision will threaten Navalny's plan to run in the next year's presidential election.

Navalny, 40, was one of the leaders of mass protests against Putin in 2011 and 2012. He is known as the Kremlin critic and anti-corruption campaigner. He announced in December his plans to run for president in 2018 but Russian laws ban people serving such a sentence.

"According to the constitution, I have a full right to take part in the elections and I will do that," Navalny said after the verdict.

The court held a retrial after Navalny and his co-defendant, businessman Pyotr Ofitserov, were convicted of embezzlement in 2013. Last year, the European Court of Human Rights quashed the 2013 ruling, saying the men did not have a fair trial.

TRT World's Sarah Jones has more details.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies