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Khabarovsk Krai Governor Furgal's Pretrial Arrest Upheld Amid Rallies In His Support

Governor Sergei Furgal during a court hearing in Moscow on July 16.
Governor Sergei Furgal during a court hearing in Moscow on July 16.

MOSCOW -- The Moscow City Court has upheld the two-month pretrial arrest of Sergei Furgal, the governor of the Far Eastern Khabarovsk Krai region, who is charged with attempted murder and ordering two murders in 2004-2005, as his supporters rallied in the city of Khabarovsk for a sixth day.

The July 16 court session was held behind closed doors as investigator Yury Burtovoi insisted that some people implicated in the case had been threatened.

Furgal took part in the hearing via a video link from the Lefortovo detention center in Moscow.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people in Khabarovsk, the capital of the Khabarovsk Krai region, continued to demand Furgal's release.

The protesters gathered on the central Lenin Square and marched across the city, chanting "Freedom!" and holding posters saying "Khabarovsk Never Gives Up On Its Own People!" and "We Trust Our Governor!"

Last weekend tens of thousands gathered in support of Furgal in Khabarovsk, a surprisingly strong showing given how far the city is from the Russian capital and how the Kremlin has marginalized all political opposition in the country.

The protests were also the largest in the country since a national vote that has set the stage for President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036.

Smaller rallies were also held in the military-industrial city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur and other towns in the region.

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