Russian opposition leader released from jail then immediately arrested again

Putin critic facing new charges after serving 30-day sentence for organising unsanctioned protests

Adam Forrest
Tuesday 25 September 2018 01:06 BST
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Navalny was arrested upon leaving Moscow detention centre
Navalny was arrested upon leaving Moscow detention centre (AFP/Getty Images)

The Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released from jail on Monday, only to be immediately arrested again by police.

Mr Navalny had completed 30-day sentence for organising an unauthorised protest and was freed at daybreak. But a police officer detained the lawyer activist as soon as he stepped outside a detention centre in Moscow.

A figurehead for opposition to Vladimir Putin, Mr Navalny was met by supporters and media as he emerged from the facility and was quickly led away.

His spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said he had been taken to a police station to face new charges of staging a rally that caused bodily harm to unidentified people.

She later tweeted to say he had been sentenced to another 20 days in jail.

Mr Navalny has been a driving force behind a recent series of anti-government protests held in cities and towns across Russia.

He claimed authorities had recently imprisoned him for 30 days to prevent him from leading a 9 September protest against the government’s pension reforms.

Moscow protests: Russian opposition leader Navalny detained

The opposition leader was also barred from taking part in Russia’s presidential election in March and served a month-long prison sentence in June for organising protests against Mr Putin’s fourth inauguration.

His detention on Monday comes during a wave of popular discontent against a government plan to raise the retirement age.

Russians across the political spectrum are angry about a proposal to raise the eligibility for a state pension from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 60 for women.

Thousands of people attended authorised rallies against the pension reforms across the country on Saturday.

The issue has seen a drop in approval ratings for Mr Putin and has burdened the Kremlin candidates running in regional elections in Russia.

Early results from run-off votes in Sunday’s gubernatorial elections in two Russian regions show opposition candidates leading Kremlin incumbents.

Earlier this month an opposition candidate for governor in Russia’s Far East Primorsky Krai mounted protests following widespread reports of vote-rigging in favor of the Putin-backed candidate.

The Communist Party candidate Andrei Ishchenko was five points ahead of the Kremlin’s candidate with 95 per cent of the votes counted. Several days later, election authorities cancelled the results of the election and called a new vote.

Additional reporting by agencies

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