Millennium Post

Russia jails Putin critic Navalny for two weeks

A Russian court has jailed top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny for two weeks in a move that prevents the charismatic leader from attending a massive opposition protest planned for March 1 this year.

The Moscow Presnensky court ruled that Navalny, who has a string of probes against him and was given a suspended prison sentence in December, organised an illegal gathering in the capital’s subway by handing out flyers advertising the March 1 protest.

The judge said the action marked a repeat offence that, under recently amended legislation, carries a penalty of up to 30 days behind bars, and jailed Navalny for 15 days.

Writing on micro-blogging website Twitter before the police led him away in handcuffs, Alexei Navalny urged his supporters to take part in the March 1 rally, but observers say his absence is likely to deflate attendance.

Moscow city hall has denied permission to hold the rally in the centre, confining it to a residential area on the outskirts of the sprawling city.

The Kremlin has cracked down on dissent since President Vladimir Putin was elected to a third term in 2012, severely tightening regulations of public gatherings after a wave of popular anti-Putin protests -- in which Navalny played a central role -- between year 2011 and 2012. 



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