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Russian Activist Imprisoned In Putin Effigy Case Released After Court Suspends Sentence

Russian activist Aleksandr Shabarchin (file photo)

PERM, Russia -- A Russian activist who was imprisoned over a satirical video featuring a mannequin of President Vladimir Putin has been released after a court suspended his sentence.

Aleksandr Shabarchin was released from custody after the Perm Krai regional court's decision was announced on November 5.

Shabarchin, who took part in the hearing via a video link from a detention center, reiterated that he considers himself not guilty, adding that freedom of expression is not banned in Russia.

Shabarchin and two other men, Danil Vasilyev and Aleksandr Etkin, aka Kotov, were arrested in January 2019 and charged with disrupting social order by placing an effigy of Putin at Perm's central Lenin Street in November 2018.

The effigy in Perm's Lenin Street in November 2018.
The effigy in Perm's Lenin Street in November 2018.

The effigy had a black-and-white prison robe draped over it with signs saying "War Criminal" and "Liar."

In August, a court in Perm sentenced Shabarchin to two years in prison and handed a suspended one-year prison term to Vasilyev. Etkin was acquitted.

Last month, Amnesty International called Shabarchin a "prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression," and demanded that Russian authorities immediately release him.