Russian court turns down prosecutors' request to imprison opposition leader Navalny

A Moscow court has turned down the prosecutors' request to turn a suspended sentence for opposition leader Alexei Navalny into prison time.

Navalny was convicted in December of fraud and given a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence. His brother was sent to prison on charges of defrauding a French cosmetics company in a verdict seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin.

Prosecutors have appealed to convert Navalny's suspended sentence into a prison term, citing his recent misdemeanors such as Navalny's 15-day arrest for campaigning on the subway for an unauthorized rally.

Navalny, a leading foe of President Vladimir Putin who spearheaded the 2011-2012 mass protests in Moscow, rejected the official accusations and argued that they have no basis in Russian law. The district court on Wednesday rejected the prosecutors' demand.