Vladimir Putin opponent Alexei Navalny guilty of embezzlement

Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been found guilty of embezzlement at a retrial. A court has upheld the verdict of the first trial in 2013 that Mr Navalny led a group that embezzled timber worth 16m roubles (£330,000) from a Kirov state timber company while working as an adviser to the region’s governor. The case was brought after the European Court of Human Rights ruled he was not given a fair hearing at his first trial.

The party of crooks and thieves

Alexei Navalny’s description of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia

Mr Navalny has always denied the accusations, saying the case is politically motivated. Prosecutors are asking for a five year suspended sentence and a 500,000 rouble (£6,727) fine for Navalny and a four year suspended sentence and similar fine for his co-defendant Pyotr Ofitserov. Navalny’s conviction makes him ineligible for public office, meaning he cannot run against Vladimir Putin in next year’s presidential election. Navalny, the driving force between behind massive anti-government protests in 2011 and 2012, had announced plans to run for office in December and had begun to raise funds.