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Russian Opposition Party Official Charged With Extortion

YEKATERINBURG -- The leader of the Russian opposition Yabloko party's branch in the central Sverdlov Oblast has been charged with extortion, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Maksim Petlin has been held at a pretrial detention center in Yekaterinburg since February 21.

On February 22, police searched the Yabloko party office and Petlin's apartment in Yekaterinburg. His aide, Andrei Panteleyev, was detained earlier the same day for his alleged involvement in an attempt to extort a bribe from a construction company.

Petlin went voluntarily to Yekaterinburg police department and was taken into custody.

Petlin's supporters have organized rallies to demand his immediate release. Police said the investigation is continuing.

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