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Russian Court Cuts Jail Term Of Former Russian Lawmaker, Navalny Supporter To One Day

Former Yekaterinburg Mayor Yevgeny Roizman is seen after he attended an administrative hearing at Yekaterinburg’s Oktyabrsky district court on May 12.
Former Yekaterinburg Mayor Yevgeny Roizman is seen after he attended an administrative hearing at Yekaterinburg’s Oktyabrsky district court on May 12.

YEKATERINBURG, Russia -- A Russian court has cut the jail term of opposition politician and former Yekaterinburg Mayor Yevgeny Roizman from nine days to one day after he appealed the ruling against him for his online posts about a January 31 rally to support jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny.

The Sverdlovsk regional court in Yekaterinburg made the decision on May 13, a day after the city's Oktyabr district court sentenced Roizman, who is also a former member of parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, for organizing an unsanctioned rally after he urged his nearly 500,000 followers on Twitter to take to the streets.

No reason for the decision was given.

The court on May 2 also found Roizman guilty of organizing a pro-Navalny rally in Yekaterinburg on April 21 and sentenced him to nine days in jail on that charge as well, but ruled that the punishments on both charges must be served simultaneously.

The Sverdlovsk regional court shortened both sentences to one day.

Roizman, who served as mayor of Russia's fourth-largest city from 2013 to 2018, pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying his posts were neither calls for people to attend the rally nor attempts to organize it.

Nationwide demonstrations held on January 23 and January 31 were against the arrest of Navalny, who was detained at a Moscow airport on January 17 upon his arrival from Germany, where he was recovering from a poison attack with what several European laboratories concluded was a military-grade chemical nerve agent in Siberia in August.

Russian authorities have launched a crackdown on opposition activists and independent media in the wake of the protests.

Navalny has insisted that his poisoning was ordered directly by President Vladimir Putin, which the Kremlin has denied.

In February, a Moscow court ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case that is widely considered as being politically motivated. Navalny's 3 1/2-year suspended sentence from the case was converted to a jail term, though the court said he will serve 2 1/2 years in prison given the amount of time he had been held in detention.

Roizman, who has described himself as a friend of Navalny, resigned from his post in 2018 after authorities moved to scrap mayoral elections in the city of 1.5 million in the industrial belt of the Ural Mountains.

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