MOSCOW, February 25 (RAPSI) – Anti-corruption crusader and opposition activist Alexei Navalny will serve seven days in custody for resisting arrest at an unauthorized rally in central Moscow, a court ruled Tuesday.
Navalny participated in the unsanctioned protest a day before, following the sentencing of several activists for their participation in riots that swept the city’s downtown in May 2012. Those activists were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 2 1/2 to four years, and one was given a suspended sentence.
Navalny was among 420 protesters detained soon after the sentencing took place, according to an official police tally. He faced a fine of up to 1,000 rubles ($30) or 15 days behind bars.
Navalny was accused of having participated in an unsanctioned protest, inciting chaos and resisting arrest. He denied that he had done anything wrong, reminding the court of a suspended sentence he was given in a similar case last year.
In July, Navalny was found guilty of timber embezzlement and sentenced to five years in a penal colony, with his co-accused Pyotr Ofitserov receiving a four years. The two were ordered to pay a 1 million ruble fine between them. However, a Kirov Region court suspended the sentence in October.
Boris Nemtsov, an opposition activist and former state lawmaker, was detained along with Navalny. He will spend 10 days in detention according to the ruling by Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court.
Over 400 people were arrested and scores injured in May 2012 riots. Dozens were later charged with inciting mass riots and using violence against law enforcement officers.
Initially, 12 suspects were on the indictment, but four were pardoned pursuant to a broad amnesty supported by President Vladimir Putin in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution.