MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court has upheld the Russian Justice Ministry’s request to eliminate the Fifth Season foundation providing for the activities of opposition blogger Alexei Navalny’s staff, a TASS correspondent reported.
The request was based on a probe into the foundation’s documents and activities, which resulted in the discovery of law violations.
At the same time, the foundation’s lawyers told the court that the violations were not significant, while being easy to remedy. "We believe the Justice Ministry’s request to be unlawful as the foundation is active in accordance with the Russian legislation, while the discovered violations may be remedied," lawyers Ivan Zhdanov said.
The foundation’s lawyers said they planned to file an appeal against the court’s ruling. A thing to note is that the court has not yet announced its reasons for making the decision.
On November 24, 2017, the foundation published a letter received from the Moscow branch of the Russian Justice Ministry, which said that from November 28 to December 22, a probe into the foundation’s documents will be conducted in order to figure out if its activities were in line with the objectives stated in its statute, as well as with the Russian legislation.
Navalny planned to run for Russian president as an independent candidate but the Central Election Commission (CEC) refused to register a group of electors in support of his self-nomination due to his felony conviction.
Under Russia’s law, citizens who have outstanding convictions for grave and especially grave crimes are barred from running in presidential elections. At the same time, those committing grave crimes are deprived of the opportunity to run for president for ten years after their convictions are expunged, while those convicted for especially grave crimes do not have a chance to run in elections for 15 years.
In February 2017, Navalny was handed a five-year suspended sentence with a probation period of one year and five months as part of the Kirovles embezzlement case. Besides, in 2014, Navalny and his brother Oleg were convicted for embezzling the Yves Rocher Vostok company’s funds. Alexei Navalny received a suspended sentence of three years and six months, while Oleg Navalny was sentenced to three years and six months behind bars.
On December 30, 2017, Russia’s Supreme Court rejected Navalny’s lawsuit demanding that the CEC’s decision be overturned.