MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a criminal conviction against opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his brother.
The 2014 conviction was the reason given for why Navalny was barred from running in the March presidential election.
Navalny and his brother, Oleg, were convicted in 2014 of defrauding a cosmetics company in a trial that was widely described as a political vendetta.
Following unsuccessful appeals, Navalny — a lawyer by training — turned to the European Court of Human Rights, which in 2016 ruled in his favor. Russia’s Supreme Court, however, ruled Wednesday against a retrial, upholding the conviction that gave Navalny a suspended sentence and sent his brother to prison for 3½ years.
The European court’s rulings are legally binding for Russia. Navalny said after the hearing that the Supreme Court’s surprise decision shows Russia’s refusal to respect its international obligations.
“There are no (fair) courts in Russia, and even the mere chance to influence that via a higher power has just got even slimmer,” Navalny said on his website. “This is big news and a step to a new low.”