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Russian Opposition Leader Banned From Running Against Putin

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny won’t be allowed to run in the 2018 presidential election because of a criminal sentence he claims was organized to stop him.

Russia’s central electoral commission announced Friday that a five-year suspended embezzlement sentence makes Navalny ineligible for the presidency, Reuters reports. Under Russian law, people who have been convicted of serious crimes can’t run for office until 10 years after their sentence ends.

Navalny and his business partner misappropriated around $500,000 worth of lumber from a state-owned company, according to a 2013 ruling. Navalny claims the case was fabricated to stop him, a critic of President Vladimir Putin, from advancing his political career.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Navalny was innocent, before a Russian court upheld the original verdict in a retrial.

Navalny was sentenced to 30 days in jail in June for organizing anti-Kremlin rallies. Hundreds of people were detained across the country during Russia Day protests June 12, including Navalny himself. (RELATED: Hundreds Arrested In Moscow Anti-Corruption Protests, Including Opposition Leader)

Putin is eligible to run for reelection but has yet to declare his candidacy. He has been either president or prime minister continuously since 2000.

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