Russia Navalny: Supreme court overturns conviction for fraud

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Alexei Navalny during a court appearance in 2013Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Mr Navalny says a retrial in Kirov would impede his political activities

Russia's supreme court has overturned the conviction of anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny ordering "further investigation".

The ruling comes after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Mr Navalny's rights had been violated.

He was convicted of embezzlement in 2013 in a trial he called politically motivated.

The court ordered the case to be retried in Kirov, the provincial city where the 2013 hearings took place.

Reacting to the news, Mr Navalny told Russian news agencies the case should have been dismissed and that a retrial in Kirov would impede his political activities, the Associated Press news agency reports.

He and an associate, Pyotr Ofitserov, had been sentenced to serve five and four years respectively. The sentences were later suspended.

The court found Mr Navalny guilty of heading a group that embezzled timber worth 16m rubles ($500,000; £330,000) from the Kirovles state timber company while working as an adviser to Kirov's governor, Nikita Belykh.

Prosecutors had asked for a six-year jail sentence but judge Sergei Blinov decided on five years, saying there were no extenuating circumstances that would warrant keeping the Kremlin critic out of prison.

The verdict had been widely condemned by the EU and the US, with opposition supporters clashing with police in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities.

In its February ruling, the ECHR found the trial had been based on "arbitrary interpretation of the law".