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First Russian Activist Jailed Under New Law

MOSCOW -- A Russian court has sentenced an activist to three years in prison under a new law introduced last year.

A court in Moscow found Ildar Dadin guilty on December 7 of "repetitive violation of the regulations on public events," and sentenced him the same day.

Amnesty International called the sentence a "shocking and cynical attack on freedom of expression."

Dadin became the first Russian citizen jailed for participating in more than two unsanctioned public events in 180 consecutive days. Investigators say he took part in four unsanctioned protests in 2014.

Dadin pleaded not guilty and said the case against him was a "shameful persecution based on an unconstitutional law."

Three other Russian activists, including 75-year-old Vladimir Ionov, have been charged with a similar crime.

Russian lawmakers introduced the legislation in 2014. Rights activists called it a tool to crack down on dissent.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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