Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally in Moscow to protest President Vladimir Putin's election victory in 2012. Wednesday, Russia's supreme court ordered a new trial for Navalny in an embezzlement case the activist says was politically-motivated. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
MOSCOW, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Russia's high court ordered Wednesday that a convicted activist receive a new trial after a report concluded that his rights were violated during the first prosecution.
The ruling gives anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny hope that his suspended five-year prison sentence will be vacated -- thus aiding his efforts to establish a political career.
The Russian supreme court decision follows a report by the European Court of Human Rights that said Navalny did not receive a fair trial in 2013.
Navalny was tried for heading a company that embezzled a half-million dollars from a Russian government-owned timber company, the original trial determined.
His conviction and imprisonment, though, were widely criticized by world leaders, including the United States. Navalny has repeatedly said his prosecution was politically-motivated.
Navalny responded to the ruling Wednesday by saying his case should have been dismissed entirely -- a request he formally made in August.
"I have not the slightest desire to go to Kirov [for retrial]," he said. "This was done only to obstruct my political activities and my investigations. I should have been acquitted today, but the court refused to execute the ECHR's decisions."
Navalny added that he plans to file a complaint with the Council of Europe.
The activist said he hopes to run in Russia's 2018 presidential election, but Russian law presently forbids him to do so -- as he wouldn't be eligible until 10 years after the end of his suspended sentence, which would be 2028. A vacation of his conviction would make him immediately eligible.