Politics, World

Russian opposition figure Navalny jailed

Alexey Navalny receives 15-day sentence for resisting arrest, insists Sunday's anti-corruption rallies were legal

Diyar Guldogan   | 27.03.2017
Russian opposition figure Navalny jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny (R) is seen during the trial of his detention on an unauthorized rally against corruption in the Tverskoy court of the city in Moscow, Russia, on March 27, 2017. ( Nikita Shvetsov - Anadolu Agency )

ANKARA

A Russian court on Monday jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny for 15 days on charges of resisting arrest following street demonstrations in several major cities on Sunday.

Navalny appeared in court after having been detained during the high-profile anti-corruption protests. He was also fined 20,000 rubles ($350).

"Hello to all from the Tver court. There will come a time when we will judge them (only honestly)," Navalny, the founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation and chairman of Russia’s opposition Progress Party, tweeted earlier on Monday.

Russian police on Sunday detained more than 500 people during protests -- led by Navalny -- which took place in several cities including Moscow and St. Petersburg, local media reported.

According to Russian news agency TASS, Navalny described himself as the "organizer" of the protest and insisted it was legal.

However, the Kremlin described Sunday's "unauthorized rally" as a provocation.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused protest organizers of lying about the legality of the demonstrations, according to TASS.

"We cannot respect those who mislead people, in fact, children," Peskov was quoted as saying.

He claimed minors were promised rewards if they took part in the protests.

Peskov said President Vladimir Putin had been informed about the protests and insisted Moscow respected the right of citizens to hold rallies, but in a legal way.

World reaction

The European External Action Service said on Monday in a statement the police operations to disperse demonstrators and the detention of hundreds of citizens had prevented the exercise of basic freedoms of expression.

"We call on the Russian authorities to abide fully by the international commitments it has made, including in the Council of Europe and the OSCE, to uphold these rights, and to release without delay the peaceful demonstrators that have been detained," it added.

Separately, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner called the arrests "an affront to core democratic values”.

Russians “deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution," Toner said.

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the reactions as "double-standards", TASS reported.

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