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Russia opposition figure Kasparov arrested at anti-Putin rally

[JURIST] Former chess champion and liberal United Civil Front [party website, in Russian] leader Garry Kasparov [personal website, in Russian] was arrested Saturday at a demonstration in Moscow against President Vladimir Putin [official website], two weeks before parliamentary elections. AP reports that Kasparov was sentenced to five days in jail for organizing an unsanctioned protest. He was also charged with resisting arrest, which he denied. Two riot police testified that they were given orders prior to the protest to arrest Kasparov; an assistant told AP he was forced to the ground and beaten before being taken away on a police bus. AP has more.

This is not the first time Kasparov has been arrested at protests against Putin's alleged infringements of rights and constitutional freedoms in the country. He accused police of brutality after being arrested [JURIST reports] at a similar rally in April. Kasparov and fellow opposition leader former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov [BBC profile] have strongly criticized Putin and his allies in the run-up to December parliamentary elections and March 2008 presidential election. Kasparov has accused Putin of instituting a police state and creating a puppet judiciary [JURIST report] to persecute opposition leaders.

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