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Amnesty Says Russian Activist's Conviction Should Be Overturned

Mikhail Kosenko (left), one of the activists accused of violence at a rally on the eve of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration, stands in a defendant's cage in a court in Moscow in October 2013.

Amnesty International says the conviction of a Russian activist who was released from a closed psychiatric institution should be overturned.

Mikhail Kosenko was arrested after he took part in a protest in Moscow's Bolotnaya Square in 2012 when Russian opposition activists clashed with police.

He was convicted of participating in the unrest and assaulting a police officer, and his sentence was forced psychiatric treatment.

Kosenko was released on July 11 to continue treatment in an outpatient clinic.

Amnesty says Kosenko was a peaceful demonstrator whose only "crime" was publicly expressing his beliefs.

Sergei Nikitin, Amnesty International's Moscow Office Director said his case was "reminiscent of the Soviet-era tactics when the authorities used psychiatric treatment to silence dissenting voices.”

He said the fact that Kosenko's conviction has not been overturned "means he could be locked up again for any transgression, real or fabricated."

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