Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny avoided imprisonment after a court rejected a request from prosecutors to convert his five-year suspended sentence into a jail term.
Navalny, 38, who has challenged President Vladimir Putin’s rule as leader of anti-Kremlin street protests, was allowed to leave Moscow’s Lyublinsky District Court after the judge refused the application on Wednesday from prosecutors and the Federal Prison Service to imprison him.
“The court has apparently decided that I’m too good,” Navalny wrote on Twitter to his 1 million followers.
Navalny was given a five-year suspended sentence in July 2013 after being convicted of embezzlement in a case relating to the Kirovles timber company while he served as an adviser to the Kirov governor. He has accused the authorities of fabricating the charges as retaliation for his political activities and campaigns to expose official corruption.
He rose to prominence as the charismatic leader of mass protests in the winter of 2011-2012 in Moscow and other Russian cities against alleged ballot-fraud in parliamentary elections and Putin’s announcement that he would return for a third term as president. The demonstrations, which drew more than 100,000 people onto the streets of the capital, were the largest anti-Kremlin protests since the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades earlier.
The court added three months to his suspended sentence after Navalny was repeatedly accused of breaching the terms of his probation, the state-run RIA Novosti news service reported.