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Russian civic activist Konstantin Kotov (file photo)

A Russian court has sent the high-profile case of an opposition activist imprisoned for repeatedly taking part in unsanctioned rallies to an appeals unit of the Moscow City Court.

Moscow's Court Of Cassations No. 2 said on March 2 that it rejected a motion by Konstantin Kotov's lawyers and prosecutors to annul a four-year prison term handed to the activist.

His lawyers wanted the case against their client to be closed and the charge to be dropped, while prosecutors had asked the court to cut the prison term to one year.

The court also ruled that Kotov must be kept in pretrial detention until May 2.

The 35-year-old computer programmer was detained on August 10 for taking part in a rally to demand that opposition and independent candidates be put on the ballot for the Moscow City Duma election that was held on September 8.

The barring of the would-be candidates sparked a wave of protests in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia last summer, some of which were violently suppressed by police as thousands were briefly detained, sparking international condemnation.

Kotov was one of several activists punished with prison following the protests in what has been dubbed the Moscow Case.

His conviction and sentencing on September 5 sparked a public outcry in Russia because of its severity.

On January 25, amid protests against Kotov's imprisonment, President Vladimir Putin ordered the Prosecutor-General's Office to review the legality of the sentencing.

Two days later, Russia's Constitutional Court ruled that the case must be reviewed.

Based on reporting by Mediazona and Rapsinews
Kyrgyz Police Disperse Protesters With Water Canon
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BISHKEK -- Police and protesters have clashed at a rally by supporters of jailed Kyrgyz politician Sadyr Japarov as they demanded his release.

An RFE/RL correspondent at the rally on March 2 said police fired tear gas and used water cannon to drive away hundreds of people gathered in Bishkek's Ala-Too square, where they were also demanding that the government resign and calling for constitutional amendments.

The demonstrators responded by hurling rocks at security forces, damaging cars and businesses in the area.

The Interior Ministry said more than 30 people had been detained.

Mukar Cholponbaev, the former parliamentary speaker, said at the rally that the constitution "must be amended to liquidate a number of problems in the country." He did not specify what exactly he and other protesters wanted to change in the constitution.

Interior Ministry spokesman Bakyt Seitov told reporters that the rally was dispersed because it had run past the 5 p.m. local time limit granted in the demonstration permit.

Former lawmaker Sadyr Japarov was sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison after a court in Bishkek convicted him of taking a government official hostage during 2013 protests around the Kumtor Gold Mine by demonstrators demanding that the mine be nationalized.

Japarov has rejected the charges saying they were politically motivated.

In April 2019, the Supreme Court cut Japarov's sentence by 18 months.

In November 2019, Japarov officially asked President Sooronbai Jeenbekov for clemency. He is still waiting for an answer to his request.

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