Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny ‘released without charge’ after arrest at anti-Putin protest

He will have to face court at a later date and could face up to 30 days in jail if charged with violating laws on holding demonstrations

Sunday 28 January 2018 21:45
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Russia opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained by police at anti-Putin protest

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been released from police custody without charge.

He was arrested in Moscow on Sunday as protest demonstrations against Vladimir Putin called by him took place across the country.

Mr Navalny's lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, told Reuters that although her client had been released, he would still have to face court at a later date.

If charged with violating laws on holding demonstrations, Mr Navalny could face up to 30 days in jail.

Police wrestled the opposition leader into a patrol wagon moments after he appeared at a rally to urge voters to boycott what he claimed would be a rigged presidential election in March.

Mr Navalny had only walked a short distance when he was surrounded by helmet-clad police officers.

They wrestled him to the ground on the pavement and then dragged him feet first into the patrol wagon, video footage has showed.

Before his release, he called upon his supporters to continue the demonstrations.

He said on Twitter: "They have detained me. This doesn't mean anything ... you didn't come out for me, but for your future."

Protests against Mr Putin were reported up and down the country, ranging from a dozen to several hundred people.

Mr Navalny has been barred from running in the upcoming presidential election on 18 March, which polls show Mr Putin is on track to easily win.

Though Mr Navalny says he knows Mr Putin will be re-elected, his boycott campaign is aimed at lowering voter turnout to try to take the shine off a Putin win.

AP and Reuters.

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