Tags: Russia | opposition | prison | Putin
Image: Russian Court Jails Putin Foes on Charges of Inciting Mass Riots
Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov arrives in court Wednesday to hear his verdict. (Getty Images)

Russian Court Jails Putin Foes on Charges of Inciting Mass Riots

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 03:36 PM

A Russian court sentenced two protest leaders to four-and-a-half years each in jail on Thursday on charges of inciting mass riots against President Vladimir Putin, in a case the opposition sees as part of a clampdown on his foes while all eyes are on Ukraine.

Sergei Udaltsov, who shouted 'Freedom!" as he was led from the court room, and Leonid Razvozhayev were both accused of coordinating protests that turned violent on May 6, 2012, the eve of Putin's inauguration for a third term as president.

The state prosecution had called for eight-year jail terms.Putin denies political interference in court cases but says anyone who attacks the police should be punished.

In his third spell as president, following two successive terms from 2000 until 2008, Putin has adopted an increasingly hardline stance to consolidate his public support.

His popularity has risen to new heights in Russia since the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in March. However, he could become an international pariah if Russia is found to have provided missiles to rebels in eastern Ukraine, where a Malaysian passenger jet was brought down last week, killing 298 people.

Putin said this week he would not tighten the screws on his opponents.

However, his critics say Putin has quietly enacted laws aimed at curbing dissent, including legislation envisaging tougher punishment for people involved in riots and imposing life sentences for various "terrorist" crimes.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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A Russian court sentenced two protest leaders to four-and-a-half years each in jail on Thursday on charges of inciting mass riots against President Vladimir Putin, in a case the opposition sees as part of a clampdown on his foes while all eyes are on Ukraine.
Russia, opposition, prison, Putin
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2014-36-24
Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 03:36 PM
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