Russia's Constitutional Court has ordered a review of the precedent-setting case of imprisoned opposition activist Ildar Dadin.
The court ruled on February 10 after considering a challenge from Dadin, the first person convicted under a controversial new statute authorizing criminal prosecution of Russians who take part in more than one unsanctioned protest in a 180-day period.
Dadin, who is serving a 2 1/2-year sentence at a prison in the Altai Krai, argued that the statute is unconstitutional.
The Constitutional Court confirmed the government has the right to prosecute people for repeated noncriminal offences.
But it said the authorities should base their application of the statue decisions on "the real scale of public danger" and only jail protesters after rallies that were not peaceful.
The court also suggested that lawmakers should make changes in the legislation.
Amnesty International said the ruling "offers a rare glimmer of hope for the right to peaceful assembly" in Russia, and called for Dadin's immediate release.
Dadin was moved to the prison in Altai Krai after he wrote an open letter last year saying that he and other prisoners had been beaten and tortured at the prison where he was being held at the time.
Based on reporting by Current Time TV, Reuters, AFP, TASS, and Interfax