Russian court unjustly sentences Putin’s foe Aleksei Navalny

A court on Monday sentenced Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny to 15 days in prison, saying he had disobeyed a police officer during an anti-government protest in Moscow the previous day.

The same court fined Navalny 20,000 roubles ($352.20) earlier on Monday for his role in organizing the protest, which the authorities said was illegal.

Police detained hundreds of protesters across Russia on Sunday, including Navalny, after thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against corruption and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. In demonstrations that were organised in over hundred cities across Russia participated also youth in age of 15-16 years old.

During today’s trial Aleksei Navalny promised to file complaints on behalf all of arrested protesters to the European Court of Justice. He called Prime Minister Medvedev an organizer of the yesterday’s anti-corruption protests.

Olga Mikhailova, Navalny’s lawyer, told Reuters she had expected such a verdict and would appeal it.

A Reuters reporter saw Navalny being loaded into a van, which was quickly surrounded by supporters holding placards reading” “We believe” and “Alexei, we are with you.”

The Kremlin on Monday rejected calls by the United States and the European Union to release detained opposition protesters, accusing organizers of paying teenagers to attend.

(Reuters, pht)