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Russian Opposition Activist Kotov Released From Prison

Konstantin Kotov in court in September 2019
Konstantin Kotov in court in September 2019

MOSCOW -- Russian opposition activist Konstantin Kotov, who was imprisoned for repeatedly taking part in unsanctioned rallies, has been released upon completion of his prison term.

Kotov left Correctional Colony No. 2 in the western Vladimir Region on December 16, his lawyer Maria Eismont told reporters.

The 35-year-old computer programmer was detained on August 10, 2019, for taking part in a rally to demand that opposition and independent candidates be put on the ballot for the Moscow City Duma election that was held in September 2019.

Kotov was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. He was one of several activists sent to prison following the protests in what has been dubbed the Moscow Case.

Kotov's sentencing on September 5, 2019, sparked a public outcry in Russia because of its severity.

On January 25, amid protests triggered by Kotov's imprisonment, President Vladimir Putin ordered the Prosecutor-General's Office to review the legality of the sentencing.

Two days later, Russia's Constitutional Court ruled that the case must be reviewed.

Later in April, the Moscow City Court ruled Kotov's term must be lowered by 2 1/2 years. His term was also recalculated due to the time he served in pretrial detention, where one day is equal to two days served in a penal colony.

Kotov has maintained his innocence, calling his case politically motivated.

With reporting by Interfax and MBKh Media