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Aides Jailed For Anti-Putin Protests As Navalny Appeal Rejected


Aleksei Navalny (center) makes a statement for media in his office in Moscow in July 2017, as Kira Yarmysh stands behind him.

A Moscow court has ordered the press secretary of jailed opposition politician and anticorruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny to be jailed for 25 days over nationwide protests against President Vladimir Putin.

The Tver district court made the ruling on May 23, a day after Kira Yarmysh was detained in the Russian capital.

"25 days is nonsense, when you know that you are right with so many people," Yarmysh tweeted. "Farewell, see you on appeal."

The host of Navalny’s YouTube channel, Ruslan Shaveddinov, was also detained on May 22 outside his Moscow home and later jailed for 30 days over the May 5 nationwide rallies.

"Thirty days," Shaveddinov later wrote on Twitter from the Tver district court. "I will continue to encourage you to participate in the struggle for the future of our country."

A lawyer for Navalny's Anticorruption Foundation, Ivan Zhdanov, said Shaveddinov was accused of being among the organizers of the rally called by Navalny against Putin's reelection.

Ruslan Shaveddinov
Ruslan Shaveddinov

Also on May 23, the Moscow City Court rejected an appeal by Navalny against a 30-day jail sentence that was handed to him for organizing the protests.

Navalny was ordered jailed on May 15 for what the judges said was violating regulations for organizing public gatherings.

Navalny called the accusations against him "ridiculous."

The vocal Putin foe was one of hundreds of people apprehended on May 5 in Moscow and more than 1,600 people detained nationwide during protests ahead of Putin's inauguration to a new six-year term.

Under the slogan "He's not our tsar," Navalny, 41, had called on his supporters to take to the streets nationwide ahead of Putin's May 7 inauguration.

Navalny already served several jail terms on charges related to organizing antigovernment protests, and was convicted twice on financial-crimes charges that he and government critics say were trumped up by the Kremlin as retribution for his opposition to Putin.

Shaveddinov's detention is the second in less than a week, after police in Moscow arrested him for a short period of time over the same accusation of involvement in the May 5 protests.

In January, both Yarmysh and Shaveddinov were sentenced to several days in jail for broadcasting Navalny-organized rallies calling for a boycott of the March 18 presidential election.

Navalny was barred from taking part in the March 18 presidential election because of the convictions that he and his supporters say were fabricated to keep him out of electoral politics.

Putin, who has been president or prime minister since 1999, was sworn in for a new six-year term on May 7 after a landslide victory in the election.

The vote was marred by allegations of fraud and what international observers said was a lack of a genuine choice.

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