Europe

Russia opposition leader Alexei Navalny under house arrest

  • 28 February 2014
  • From the section Europe
Russian opposition activist and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny listens in the court room in Moscow
Alexei Navalny, who frequently blogs about corruption, will be banned from using the internet

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been placed under house arrest and forbidden from using the internet or receiving visitors.

The house arrest is for two months, but can be extended.

Investigators accused him of violating the terms of a suspended sentence from an earlier case.

Navalny, a leading opposition figure and anti-corruption campaigner, has dismissed the charges against him as ridiculous and politically motivated.

He was given a five-year suspended sentence for the theft of 16m roubles ($450,000; £270,000) from a timber company in 2009.

Officials said he had repeatedly travelled outside Moscow, in violation of the sentence.

He was also charged with resisting arrest at a rally on Monday evening, at which hundreds of other activists were also picked up by police.

Russian opposition activist and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny in the court room in Moscow
Opposition activists accuse President Putin of increasing pressure on dissent now the Sochi Olympics are over

Mr Navalny and his supporters published a damning report in January alleging massive corruption regarding preparations for the Sochi Olympics.

Unsanctioned demonstrations have become rare since the government signed anti-protest legislation in 2012, levying heavy fines and sometimes imposing jail terms on protesters.

Critics of Russia's president accuse him of stepping up pressure on dissent in recent weeks, with an eye on upheaval in neighbouring Ukraine.

Alexei Navalny speaks to a police officer outside a courthouse in Moscow on 24 February
Navalny blames his constant brushes with the law on the Kremlin
Police officers detain protest leader Alexei Navalny outside Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow, on 24 February
He was detained twice on Monday at two separate protests
Russian police officers detain an opposition activist outside a court room in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, where hearings opposition activists detained in a May 2012 rally at Bolotnaya Square in Moscow were sentenced
Many protesters detained outside court on Monday, also went to the later protest after being released

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