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Russian Activist Ildar Dadin Released From Prison


Russian political activist Ildar Dadin has been released from prison, days after the Supreme Court overturned his conviction.

The Presidium of Russia’s Supreme Court on February 22 set aside Dadin's conviction on charges of participating in multiple unsanctioned protests and ordered his release from custody.

Dadin, 34, was freed from a Siberian penal colony on February 26, some 15 months after being convicted under a controversial law that criminalizes participation in more than one unsanctioned protest in a 180-day period. He was serving a 2 ½ year prison sentence.

"I will continue to fight against Putin's fascist regime," Dadin said after his release in footage broadcast online by the independent Dozhd channel. "I will fight so that human rights are respected in Russia."

Dadin's wife Anastasia Zotova confirmed he had been released.

"Ildar is released, and now we shall decide how [he will] get home," Russia's state-run agency TASS quoted Zotova as saying.

Dadin's lawyer Ksenia Kostromina said his release had been delayed because it took several days for the prison in the Altai Krai region in southern Siberia to receive his documents from the court.

Listed As Political Prisoner

Dadin, who was convicted in December 2015, has been listed by Russian and international organizations as a political prisoner.

Dadin, the only person in Russia who has been convicted under the law on unsanctioned protests, last year wrote an open letter alleging that he and other prisoners had been beaten and tortured at a prison in the Karelia region. He was later transferred to the Altai region.

The legislation under which Dadin was convicted was one of several antiprotest laws signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin after he returned to the Kremlin for a third term in May 2012, amid a wave of opposition protests that were the largest since he was first elected in 2000.

Rights groups have criticized the laws and other measures, which they say have severely restricted the freedoms of speech and assembly under President Putin, who is eligible to seek another six-year term in 2018.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, TASS, Interfax, and Novaya Gazeta
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