TVER, Russia -- A Russian art teacher whose imprisonment sparked protests has been freed following the intervention of President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow artist Ilya Farber, who had been living in a village in Russia's western Tver Oblast since 2010, was found guilty of bribery in 2011 in a case related to the repairs of the local culture house.
He was sentenced to eight years in jail.
Local residents had held a number of protests, saying Farber was framed by corrupt officials and construction companies. Farber denied any wrongdoing.
In the wake of the protests, a local court lowered Farber's sentence to seven years. Last month, Putin publicly called Farber's sentence "flagrant."
After that, a court in Tver revised the case and cut the jail term to three years.
Farber was granted early release from jail on December 31. The court's decision came into force on January 10.