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Protesters Against COVID Measures In North Ossetia Given Lengthy Prison Terms


Police in North Ossetia detained dozens of protesters last year when about 2,000 people gathered in the central square of the regional capital, Vladikavkaz.

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- A Russian court in the southwestern city of Rostov-on-Don has handed lengthy prison terms to the first group of individuals from the North Caucasus region of North Ossetia who took part in a massive rally in April 2020 protesting coronavirus measures.

The Lenin district court on July 27 found Artur Bugulov, Magomed Kadyrov, David Okruashvili, Aslan Gasiyev, and Zaza Tsaritov guilty of taking part in mass disorder and sentenced them to prison terms of between 5 years and 5 1/2 years.

Court decisions are still expected to be handed down to others involved in the protests against measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus in North Ossetia.

On April 20 last year, police in North Ossetia detained dozens of protesters when about 2,000 people gathered in the central square of the regional capital, Vladikavkaz, demanding the resignation of regional leader Vyacheslav Bitarov.

The rally lasted for several hours until police violently dispersed it.

The protest was initiated online via social networks by North Ossetian opera singer Vadim Cheldiyev, who permanently resides in St. Petersburg.

Cheldiyev was detained in St. Petersburg after the rally in Vladikavkaz and brought to North Ossetia, where he was charged with spreading fake news about the coronavirus and assaulting police, which he vehemently denies.

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