A Moscow court has rejected a bid by law enforcement officials to have Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny jailed, for alleged violation of a suspended sentence.
Navalny, who led mass street protests against Vladimir Putin, denies any wrongdoing in the 2013 embezzlement case – which saw him convicted for stealing from a state firm.
He says the proceedings are part of a Kremlin campaign to stifle dissent.
A judge ruled that any violations of Navalny’s suspended sentence were not “systemic” and that he could remain at liberty.
“It looks like the presidential administration decided that the cost of jailing me would be too big for now,” a smiling Navalny said after attending the hearing with his wife and two defence lawyers.
“We understand that this is all about threats and pressure, but we will continue our work. Now our efforts are aimed at preparing for the elections,” he said, referring to regional and parliamentary elections scheduled in Russia this year and next.
Navalny is also serving another suspended sentence of three-and-a-half years for a separate conviction last year that saw his brother Oleg imprisoned.