A Russian court on Wednesday found opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty in the retrial of a 2013 fraud case, which disqualifies him as a candidate for president next year. In a webcast hearing, Judge Alexei Vtyurin found Navalny guilty of embezzling timber worth about $500,000 and handed him a 5-year suspended sentence, reports the Moscow Times. The previous guilty verdict was overturned by the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that Russia violated Navalny's right to a fair trial. During a break in the proceedings, Navalny told reporters that he and his lawyers were comparing this verdict with the text of the 2013 verdict and found them to be identical, reports the AP. "The judge is reading exactly the same text, which says a lot about the whole trial," Navalny said.
He added that even the typos in the names of companies were identical in both rulings. "They were too lazy to write another one. It was a demonstration that they don't give a damn about the European Court and can take the old verdict," he claimed. Navalny, the driving force behind massive anti-government protests in 2011 and 2012, had announced plans to run for office in December and had begun to raise funds. Navalny's campaign manager, Leonid Volkov, insisted that the campaign goes on even though Reuters reports the guilty verdict bans Navalny from running for major office for a decade. In a post on Facebook, Volkov said that the Kremlin will ultimately decide whether Navalny will be confirmed as a presidential candidate. The Guardian reports President Vladimir Putin is expected to run again. (Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)