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Russian Journalist, Lawmaker Released After Court Cuts Jail Term

Ilya Azar (right) talks to journalists after his release.

A Russian journalist who also serves on a Moscow district council has been released from jail after serving 10 days in detention for staging a single-person picket.

Ilya Azar walked free from the Moscow jail on June 7, two days after a Moscow court ordered his term shortened.

Azar, who works for the independent Novaya gazeta newspaper, was detained on May 26 for staging a single-person picket, a form of protest that does not require permission from the authorities.

He was protesting the jailing of another activist who has worked to expose violations within Russia's law enforcement agencies.

Police said Azar was detained for violating lockdown orders imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

His arrest prompted an outcry among Russian journalists and municipal lawmakers who also staged single-person protests in support.

Last August, Azar helped organize a series of anti-government rallies in the Russian capital calling for fair elections. The rallies drew tens of thousands of people.