Kremlin critic Navalny can't run for presidency - election official

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny plans to contest the Russian presidential election in 2018More

Thus, the February verdict of the judge came into force, and he appointed the opposition leader five years of suspended imprisonment. The case had been retried after the European Court of Human Rights had found the original 2013 trial in which he was initially convicted was unfair.

Nikolai Bulayev, deputy chairman of Russia's Central Election Commission, told the RIA news agency on Wednesday that Navalny was now ineligible to run and could only do so if he quashed his conviction via the courts. Navalny and Ofitserov also were ordered to pay fines of $7,800. "According to the decision of the ECHR, the court had to acquit the defendant or drop criminal charges", Kobzev said.

This handout picture taken and provided by Evgeny Feldman for Alexei Navalny's campaign on March 26, 2017 shows police officers detaining Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny during an unauthorized anti-corruption rally in central Moscow.

He challenged the Kremlin favorite in a Moscow mayoral election in 2013 and won almost 30 percent of the vote, an outcome that analysts say unnerved Putin's government. But he said he was unable to get treatment in a specialised clinic in Switzerland or Spain because of a foreign travel ban imposed over what he says is a politically-motivated embezzlement conviction.

Navalny announced his presidential bid in December and has campaigned actively, opening campaign offices in cities nationwide.

Navalny is already opening campaign offices across Russian Federation and needs to gather 300,000 signatures to register as a candidate.

Navalny's lawyer said he would appeal Wednesday's ruling to the ECHR, as well, Interfax reported.

"Navalny's presidential campaign does not depend on the Kirovles case verdict, it never depended on it", the Mediazone publication cites Leonid Volkov, head of Navalny's election staff. "But they're not sure about this", he said.

"The ruling will have no impact at all", Volkov said.

A 40-year-old former lawyer who has made a name for himself inside Russian Federation investigating the finances of top government officials, Navalny was jailed for 15 days for his part in the March protests.

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