Leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been released after spending 15 days in custody for handing out leaflets in the subway.

Navalny walked free Friday after serving the sentence handed down by a Moscow court, which found him guilty of violating the law when he campaigned in the subway for an opposition rally.

A court rejected his plea for early release to attend Tuesday's funeral of slain Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov.

Navalny was convicted in late December of fraud and given a 3½-year suspended sentence and ordered to remain under house arrest until his appeals were exhausted. He has repeatedly violated his house arrest since then.

Navalny's brother was imprisoned under the verdict, which many see as a vendetta by the Kremlin.