World Bulletin / News Desk
Russian prosecutors at a retrial of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Friday called for him to be slapped with a five-year suspended sentence that would bar him from the 2018 presidential race.
"For them it's important just to ban me from participating in the elections," Navalny said.
The court will render its verdict on February 8.
In December, Navalny wrong-footed the Kremlin by announcing his intention to run for president in 2018, while President Vladimir Putin has yet to confirm his expected participation.
Navalny, a Kremlin critic and corruption whistleblower, was convicted of embezzlement in 2013 in the provincial city of Kirov in a case involving a state timber company.
The firebrand politician received a 5-year sentence suspended on appeal that prevented him standing for office and which he and his supporters condemned as politically motivated.
He filed a complaint with the ECHR which ruled in February 2016 the defendants had been deprived of a fair trial and ordered Russia to lift their convictions.
In a decision that frustrated Navalny, Russia's Supreme Court then ruled he and his co-defendant must stand trial again in the same city on the same charges.
Now the prosecutors have asked for the same punishment, which would once again bar Navalny from public office.
"They just need to give me back the sentence that the ECHR cancelled," Navalny wrote on Twitter.
He said prosecutors asked for a five-year term for him and four-year term for his co-accused, businessman Pyotr Ofitserov, as at the first trial.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday declined to comment on the trial, saying the president was too busy to follow the case.
Navalny, a 40-year-old lawyer, came to fame with punchy oratory at mass rallies in 2011 and 2012 against Putin's return to the Kremlin.
He wowed crowds with catchphrases such as "Putin is a thief" although his anti-immigration stance alienated some liberals.
He has been targeted in a number of legal probes and spent months under house arrest.
Navalny came second in Moscow's 2012 mayoral race after taking to the streets with a Western-style campaign against a Kremlin-backed incumbent.Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Şubat 2017, 17:48