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Moscow Court Allows Opposition Candidate To Run Following Protest

Sergei Mitrokhin is a politician for the Yabloko party.
Sergei Mitrokhin is a politician for the Yabloko party.

A Moscow court has rescinded a decision by the city's election commission to bar a Russian opposition candidate from running in a municipal election next month.

The Moscow City Court on August 13 ruled in favor of Yabloko party candidate Sergei Mitrokhin three days after tens of thousands of protesters turned out at the latest rally in the capital.

Street protests broke out last month after the Moscow election commission rejected most independent and opposition candidates for the September 8 city parliament vote on the grounds that many of the required signatures of support were invalid or falsified.

Candidates had to submit about 5,500 signatures of support from local residents to be eligible to run for election.

The independent candidates accused the commission and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin of abusing their power to keep them off the ballot.

Prominent opposition figures banned from running in the September 8 poll include politician Dmitry Gudkov; Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Foundation that is headed by Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny; Ivan Zhdanov, who heads Navalny's foundation; and opposition politician Ilya Yashin, who is the head of Moscow’s Krasnoselsky municipal district.

On August 12, a Moscow court remanded Yabloko activist Valery Kostenok in pretrial custody for two months on "mass unrest" charges following his participation in one of the protests.

Kostenok was one of the 14 people indicted in a criminal probe into the protests opened on the basis of three articles of Russia's criminal code -- on organizing mass unrest, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison; on participating in such unrest, which can be punished with up to eight years in prison; and on calling for unrest, which can be punished by up to two years in prison.

With reporting by Current Time, RFE/RL's Russian Service, and Interfax
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