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Russia activists sentenced to jail for rally near Kremlin

A municipal court in Russia on Tuesday sentenced several prominent Russian opposition leaders, including Aleksei Navalny [personal website, in Russian; JURIST news archive], to jail sentences of up to 10 days for participating in a rally near the Kremlin on Monday. More than 400 protesters were detained [NYT report] Monday after demonstrators gathered on Manezh Square to protest prison sentences [JURIST report] given to eight individuals accused of attacking the police on Bolotnaya Square during a 2012 rally against President Vladimir Putin [official website; JURIST news archive]. Among the other prominent activists arrested and sentenced were former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov [official website, in Russian] and two members of the feminist rock group Pussy Riot [RAPSI backgrounder; JURIST news archive] Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.

Navalny, who was sentenced to seven days of administrative arrest for allegedly resisting arrest, is currently serving [JURIST report] a five-year probation sentence for embezzlement. In November a Moscow court ruled that the government could seize Navalny's assets [JURIST report]. Charges for theft and money laundering were filed in October against Navalny and his brother. No trial date has been set, but the penalties include up to 10 years imprisonment for theft and money laundering. Navalny has criticized the charges as an improper attempt to silence people who dissent from the governmental authority. The seizure of assets occurred in connection with those charges. Investigators are accusing both men of defrauding two firms, a cosmetic firm and a cargo delivery firm, of more than 30 million rubles combined.

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