Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny was convicted of libel Tuesday and could be sent to prison.
Navalny, 37, has been one of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critics.
Before the libel verdict, Navalny was already serving a suspended five-year sentence imposed in 2013 for embezzlement. He accused the Kremlin then of orchestrating a show trial.
Tuesday’s conviction could lead to the suspended embezzlement sentence being reimposed, sending him to jail.
Navalny was released a day after last year’s embezzlement conviction. He used his freedom to mount an unsuccessful run for mayor of Moscow.
In January he launched an interactive website showing alleged multi-billion-dollar graft at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
“This is clearly just another attempt to chase me into a corner,” Navalny said Tuesday as he left court.
He’s been under house arrest since March.
“The judge found him guilty of libel over a Twitter posting calling a city lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party a drug addict, and fined him 300,000 rubles ($8,400),” the Global Post said.
Navalny pleaded innocent of the libel charge and said he’ll appeal the conviction.
He led massive street protests against Putin in 2011 and 2012.
Navalny, who trained as a lawyer, gained fame in 2010 when he posted evidence of an alleged $4 billion fraud by Russian pipleline giant Transneft.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.