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Eight Defendants In Bolotnaya Case Found Guilty In Moscow


An opposition activist is detained outside a Moscow court before verdicts were delivered in the Bolotnaya case on February 21.
A court in Moscow has found eight defendants in the so-called Bolotnaya case guilty of assaulting police and of rioting.

Judge Natalya Nikishina will continue to read out the court's decision, including the sentences for the eight, on February 24.

The defendants -- seven men and one woman, most of them in their 20s -- were arrested during a rally against President Vladimir Putin on May 6, 2012, on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square.

Kremlin critics blamed the police for the violence at the rally.

Hundreds of supporters of the defendants gathered in front of the court building on February 21 as the verdict was being announced.

Police detained some 200 supporters before the verdicts were delivered.

Prosecutors have asked the court to sentence the defendants to jail terms of between five and six years.

Amnesty International has called the guilty verdict a "hideous injustice" and demanded the immediate release of the defendants.

The U.S. State Department called the conviction "politically motivated" and raised concerns about due process and rule of law in Russia.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax