Monday, February 24, 2014

Moscow Court Convicts Eight Oppositionists of Rioting

A court in Moscow on Friday convicted eight defendants in the so-called Bolotnaya trial of rioting and assaulting police at a protest on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration to a third term as Russian president in 2012. Russian prosecutors have asked for up to six-year prison terms for the protesters, but the judge postponed sentencing until Monday, the day after the Winter Olympics close in Sochi. The Bolotnaya trial, named after Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square, where the protest took place, has dragged on since the summer of 2012 and has become symbolic of a crackdown on dissent in Mr Putin’s third term. Tens of hundreds of protesters gathered outside the court chanting “Freedom” and “Russia without Putin”. Riot police waded into the crowd, conducting multiple and apparently random arrests. On Monday the process continued and the defendants were sentenced to various terms, from a suspended sentence to 4 years. More than 100 demonstrators were arrested in from of the court, including opposition leader Alexey Navalny. (video)

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