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Moscow Court Rejects Appeal Of Man Charged With Assaulting Police During Rally

Police have been criticized for their heavy-handed tactics.
Police have been criticized for their heavy-handed tactics.

A Russian man charged with assaulting a police officer during an unsanctioned rally has been remanded in pretrial custody after failing to win an appeal.

The Moscow City Court on November 7 rejected Nikita Chirtsov's appeal and ordered that he remain in detention until January 27.

Chirtsov was initially detained at an unsanctioned rally in Moscow on July 27 to protest the refusal by election officials to register independent and opposition candidates for September 8 elections to the Moscow city council.

He was then charged with the violation of regulations for holding public events and fined 12,000 rubles ($185), after which he left Moscow for the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

However, Belarusian officials detained him days later on a Russian request and ordered him sent back to Moscow.

Upon his return, Chirtsov was rearrested and charged with assaulting a police officer during the rally and placed in pretrial detention.

Dozens of protesters have been fined or given jail sentences for organizing and participating in a series of unsanctioned rallies over the summer ahead of the September vote.

The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center has recognized several activists arrested in the case as political prisoners.

Law enforcement has been criticized for its heavy-handed tactics during the rallies, and the judiciary has since taken a similar hard-line approach in detaining and sentencing protesters.

Several activists were charged with assaulting police and handed stiff sentences. In one case, after a sharp public outcry over the court's approach, one of those convicted had his prison term changed to a suspended sentence.

One activist charged with attempted assault of a police officer during the July 27 rally, Aidar Gubaidullin, left Russia after he was released by a court in September amid a public outcry over the trumped-up charges.

Several other activists are currently in pretrial detention or under house arrest waiting for their trials.

On November 7, lawyers of three arrested activists, Maksim Martintsov, Aleksandr Mylnikov, and Yegor Lesnykh, said that their clients' charges had been changed into harsher ones. They now are charged with "attacking a law enforcement officer in a group," which the lawyers have called a "wrong" move.

With reporting by Mediazona and MBKh Media

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