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Russian opposition politician Yulia Galyamina (file photo)

Russian authorities have opened a criminal case against Yulia Galyamina, an opposition member of a Moscow district council and an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, over her involvement in anti-Kremlin rallies.

MOSCOW -- Russian authorities have opened a criminal case against Yulia Galyamina, an opposition member of a Moscow district council and an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, over her involvement in anti-Kremlin rallies.

Galyamina repeatedly violated rules on public assembly when she organized and staged unsanctioned protests, rallies, and pickets, the Investigative Committee said on July 31.

If found guilty, she could face up to five years in prison and a ban from running for office for up to five years.

Galyamina told RFE/RL that the case had been launched to “pressure” her.

Amnesty International condemned the case as “appalling and reprehensible,” saying it was aimed at “silencing a major dissenting voice and threatening to ban her political activities.”

Demonstrations of more than one person require advance consent from the Russian authorities.

Galyamina has been involved in a campaign against what she described as Putin's illegal plans to remain in power.

The campaign planned a peaceful rally on July 15 in central Moscow against constitutional reforms that gave Putin the option to remain in power for another 16 years.

Dozens of people were detained by police during the protest.

Law enforcement officials also searched the homes of Galyamina and other opposition activists ahead of the demonstration.

Galyamina is accused of participating in several other peaceful rallies, including protests against electoral violations in Moscow in the summer of 2019.

Russian blogger Aleksei Romanov (file photo)

A Russian court sentenced a well-known blogger who has covered ongoing daily protests in the Far Eastern city to seven days in jail after finding him guilty of violating the law on public gatherings.

KHABAROVSK, Russia – A Russian court sentenced a well-known blogger who has covered ongoing daily protests in the Far Eastern city to seven days in jail after finding him guilty of violating the law on public gatherings.

Aleksei Romanov's lawyer, Vitaly Tykhta, told RFE/RL that his client was detained in the morning of July 31 while leaving his appartment and tried in the afternoon.

Romanov fled Russia with his family in 2016, saying that he feared for his safety amid a campaign of harassment by the local authorities. He returned to Khabarovsk last year.

His YouTube channel has 316,000 subscribers.

Over the past three weeks, protesters have taken to the streets of Khabarovsk and other towns and cities in Khabarovsk Krai in support of the arrested former governor of the region, Sergei Furgal.

Putin's New Governor Fails To Calm Russia's Far East Amid Sustained Protests
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Furgal, who was arrested in Khabarovsk on July 9 and transferred to Moscow, was charged with attempted murder and ordering two murders in 2004-2005.

He denies the allegations and his supporters say the charges are politically motivated.

Police in Khabarovsk and elsewhere have detained several protesters in recent days. Some of them have been fined or sentenced to detention for several days.

The demonstrators nitially demanded Furgal's release, but their anger has grown to include calls for the resignation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Khabarovsk region residents overwhelmingly voted for Furgal in the 2018 gubernatorial elections. His surprise victory was a blow to the ruling United Russia party.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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