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Russian Activist Sent To Pretrial Detention On Charges Of Repeatedly Violating Rally Law


Konstantin Kotov

MOSCOW -- A court in Moscow has sent a civil rights activist to pretrial detention under a controversial law that criminalizes participation in more than one unsanctioned protest within a 180-day period.

The Presnensky district court ruled on August 14 that Konstantin Kotov should be kept in pretrial detention until October 15.

More than 50 people, including Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky and writers Lyudmila Ulitskaya and Viktor Shenderovich, vouched for Kotov, urging the court not to incarcerate him, as his actions posed no danger to society.

Kotov was detained on August 10 for taking part in an opposition rally that demanded the local election commission register independent candidates on the ballot in upcoming elections.

If convicted, Kotov, who pleaded not guilty, could become the second person sentenced under the heavily criticized legislation known as Dadin's law after Ildar Dadin -- the first and so far only person convicted under the statute.

Dadin, who served more than a year in prison after he was convicted of the same offense in December 2015, was detained in the Smolensk region on August 14.

He wrote on Facebook that a man who introduced himself as a police officer "illegally" forced him into a police car and brought him to a police station.

According to Dadin, he went to the town of Safonovo to meet opposition activist Denis Bakholdin, who was released from prison on August 14 after finishing a jail term after he was sentenced for intending "to join a radical group in Ukraine" in 2017.

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