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Russian Political Activist Given Suspended Sentence

BARNAUL, Russia -- A court in the central Russian city of Barnaul has given a suspended sentence to an activist of the opposition Other Russia movement, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Dmitry Bychkov was found guilty by the Oktyabr district court of engaging in extremist activities and illegal possession of weapons. He was sentenced to two years and three months in jail, suspended, and may neither leave Barnaul nor participate in political activities during that time.

Bychkov pleaded not guilty and plans to appeal the sentence.

Bychkov was arrested on May 1 shortly after leaving his apartment to participate in a May Day demonstration. Police found in his bag leaflets and a grenade that he says were planted. He believes that his case is politically motivated.

Several nongovernmental organizations in Barnaul have expressed support for Bychkov, saying his case is a warning to other activists in the city.