A Russian judge has declared opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty of embezzlement, a decision that may prevent him from running in next year’s presidential election, according to Interfax news agency.
The regional judge in the city of Kirov was still reading the full verdict and sentencing Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors have requested a five-year suspended sentence.
Interfax cited a lawyer for Navalny as saying the conviction would disqualify him from running in the next presidential election.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not said whether he will seek another term in office.
Navalny first became publicly known for exposing fraud in Russian state corporations. He was a leader during protests in 2011 and 2012 that united around Putin’s return to the presidency.
Navalny has said he will remain active in politics regardless of the outcome of the trial.