Russia's electoral body has announced that Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader, is barred from challenging President Vladimir Putin in next year's elections. In a statement released on Friday, the Central Electoral Commission said Navalny is "not eligible to stand for office" because he is currently serving a five-year suspended sentence for embezzlement. The body said people convicted of such crimes cannot stand for public office until 10 years after their sentence ends.
Navalny ran in the 2013 Moscow local elections, coming second against a Kremlin-backed incumbent with a Western-style campaign and a message of snuffing out corruption. Navalny was allowed to compete in that race as he was appealing his first 2013 conviction.
The European Court of Human Rights last year quashed the verdict, saying Navalny and his former business partner did not have a fair trial. Navalny and his supporters condemned the trial as politically motivated. The Russian court held a retrial this year, issuing the same sentence. A regional court later upheld the sentence.
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