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Russian Human Rights Activist Held

Russian human rights activist Aleksei Manannikov

Russian human rights activist Aleksei Manannikov

NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia -- A veteran Russian human rights activist has been sentenced to 48 hours' detention in the western Siberian city of Novosibirsk after he failed to show up at a police station where he had been summoned for questioning, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

RFE/RL's correspondent in Novosibirsk says the case stems from an investigation into Aleksei Manannikov's conduct in a courtroom last year.

Investigators say that he publicly insulted and slandered Judge Maria Shishkina after she rejected his appeal of a traffic fine. Manannikov was officially charged with "disrespect for the court" and "slander."

Manannikov, 55, who was an activist in Soviet times, represented Novosibirsk Oblast in the Federation Council (the upper chamber of the Russian parliament) from 1993-1995.

In 1995, he placed third in elections for regional governor. He made news in October 2007 when he came to a public gathering in Novosibirsk with a placard saying "Putin is better than Hitler."

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