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Ukraine Grants Asylum To Kremlin Critic


Russian pensioner and opposition activist Vladimir Ionov

Russian pensioner and opposition activist Vladimir Ionov

A Russian opposition activist who was the first person charged under a strict new law restricting protests has received political asylum in Ukraine.

Vladimir Ionov, 76, told Ukraine's Hromadske Radio on August 15 that his asylum request -- filed after Russian authorities charged him with attending more than two unauthorized public protests during one six-month period -- had been accepted.

Under legislation enacted in Russia in 2014, such activity is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Rights activists call the new law a menacing tool to crack down on dissent.

Ionov did not show up at his trial in December, and media reports at the time said he fled to Ukraine.

Another Russian opposition activist, Ildar Dadin, was sentenced to three years in jail on December 7, the first person to be convicted under the new legislation.

Based on reporting by nv.ua and hromadskeradio.org
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