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Putin's political opponent Alexei Navalny

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny embraces his wife Yulia after the announcement of the verdict at a court building in Kirov, October 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

Putin's political opponent Alexei Navalny

President Vladimir Putin's chief political opponent walked free from a Russian court on Wednesday after it suspended his five-year sentence for theft, and said he could never be 'hounded' out of political life.



The conviction, however, will prevent Alexei Navalny, borne to prominence nearly two years ago by the biggest protests of Putin's 13-year rule, from seeking elected office for several years. He said he would appeal. (Reuters)