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Russian Actor Ustinov Handed Prison Term Over Rally He Says He Wasn't Part Of


Russian actor Pavel Ustinov attends a court hearing in Moscow on September 16.

MOSCOW -- Russian actor Pavel Ustinov has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for violence against police during a protest rally last month he insists he did not participate in.

The Tver district court in Moscow on September 16 found Ustinov guilty of verbally insulting police and assaulting a National Guard officer during the August 3 rally.

The demonstrators were protesting against the refusal by officials to register opposition and independent candidates for Moscow city-council elections that took place on September 8.

Ustinov pleaded not guilty. He has said that he did participate in the rally but just stood nearby.

Defense witnesses have confirmed that he neither insulted anyone nor resisted police, but was beaten up by law enforcement.

Judge Sergei Krivoruchko ruled that videos from the rallies, which the defense had wanted to present in the case, were not admissible.

The August 3 rally was part of a wave of demonstrations that brought tens of thousands of Russians onto the streets of Moscow.

Police violently dispersed several of the protests and more than 2,000 people were detained, drawing international condemnation.

A number of those detained have received jail sentences.

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