MOSCOW (AFP) – A Russian court has jailed top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny for two weeks, to prevent the charismatic leader from attending a massive March 1 opposition protest.
The Moscow Presnensky court ruled that Navalny, who has a string of probes against him and was given a suspended prison sentence in December, organised an illegal gathering in the capital’s subway by handing out flyers.
The judge said the action marked a repeat offence that, under recently amended legislation, carries a penalty of up to 30 days behind bars, and jailed Navalny for 15 days.
Writing on Twitter before police led him away, Navalny urged his supporters to come to the March 1 rally, but observers say his absence is likely to deflate attendance.
Moscow city hall has denied permission to hold the rally in the centre, confining it to a residential area on the outskirts of the city.