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Prominent Crimean Lawyer Jailed For Five Days Over 2013 Social-Media Post

Emil Kurbedinov has called the accusation "absurd" and said that his arrest was politically motivated. 

SIMFEROPOL -- A Russia-controlled court in Crimea has sentenced prominent lawyer Emil Kurbedinov to five days in jail for a 2013 Facebook post made before Russian forces seized and subsequently annexed the peninsula from Ukraine.

The court in Simferopol on December 7 found Kurbedinov guilty of the propagation and public demonstration of symbols of an extremist organization. The exact contents of the post were not immediately revealed.

Kurbedinov, who was detained on December 6, has called the accusation "absurd" and said that his arrest was politically motivated.

Kurbedinov said he believes his arrest and trial were linked to his representation of one of the 24 Ukrainian sailors detained by Russian forces on November 25 when three Ukrainian Navy ships were seized in the Sea of Azov.

His lawyer, Aleksei Ladin, said at the trial that his client did not break any laws as the Facebook post in question was made prior to Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and therefore Russian law did not apply to the case.

Other clients of Kurbedinov in recent years have included defendants in Crimea charged in high-profile cases that human rights organizations and Western governments say are politically motivated.

Since Russia seized and illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014, Moscow has conducted a persistent campaign of oppression that targets Crimeans who oppose the annexation.