MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow court said Thursday that it was halting prosecution of four protesters accused of attacking police last year at an opposition rally that deteriorated into mass riots.
The Nikulinsky Court decided to halt the proceedings as part of a sweeping amnesty that is being granted to thousands of prisoners and defendants in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution.
More than 400 protesters were detained and scores were injured in Moscow’s central Bolotnaya Square during the May 2012 rally, held on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration to a third term as president.
Dozens of protesters were later charged with inciting riots and attacking law enforcement officers, but only eight remain on trial following Thursday’s pardoning of Nikolai Kavkazsky, Maria Baronova, Leonid Kovyazin and Vladimir Akimenkov.
Russian lawmakers approved the amnesty on Wednesday. Initiated by Putin, the amnesty is expected to be granted to defendants and prisoners involved in non-violent crimes – especially to those who are elderly, pregnant women or mothers of young children.