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Jailed Russian Activist Faces New Charge Days Before Release

Russian opposition activist Sergei Mokhnatkin (file photo)

A Russian opposition activist serving a prison term after being found guilty of assaulting police during a protest is facing fresh charges four days before his scheduled release.

The Federal Penitentiary Service said on November 29 that Sergei Mokhnatkin, who was scheduled to be released from prison in the northwestern Arkhangelsk region on December 2, was ordered to remain in custody for two months.

He is now being investigated on charges of causing disruption at the penitentiary.

Mokhnatkin, 64, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison in 2014 after being found guilty of assaulting two police officers during a December 2013 antigovernment protest in Moscow.

While in prison, Mokhnatkin held several hunger strikes protesting conditions he faced in the penitentiary, including what he said were regular beatings by prison guards.

In 2017, he was handed a further two-year sentence after being found guilty of insulting a guard and other charges. That sentence was to be served concurrently with his previous term.

Mokhnatkin first came to prominence in 2009 when he was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of attacking a police officer during another opposition rally.

He was pardoned by then-President Dmitry Medvedev in April 2012, one month before Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax