MOSCOW, October 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russia's Constitutional Court ruled Thursday to overturn a provision barring people convicted of major crimes from running for public office in a move that could open the way for opposition leader and recent Moscow mayoral candidate Alexei Navalny to participate in future elections.
The court said in its ruling that a judicial decision last year forbidding Russians convicted of “serious” and “especially serious” crimes from running for office was unconstitutional.
The lifetime ban was an unlawful form of double punishment for a single crime, the court said.
The court ruled that convicts could only be deprived of the right to run for office for the duration of their prison sentence, as stipulated in Russia’s Criminal Code.
Navalny, who in July was convicted of grand embezzlement – a charge he said was politically motivated – was allowed to run in Moscow’s recent mayoral election because he had not exhausted his appeals.
The opposition leader, who came in second with about one-fourth of the vote, responded to the Constitutional Court ruling on Twitter by writing: “Good news, my criminal brothers.”
Navalny was found guilty of timber embezzlement last July stemming from a stint spent serving as an adviser to Kirov Governor Nikita Belykh between May and September 2009. An appeal against the verdict will be heard on October 16.