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Uzbek Student Faces Deportation Over Navalny Rally In Tatarstan

Police block off a street during a rally in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny in Kazan on January 23.

A student from Uzbekistan has been ordered to leave Russia for taking part in a January 23 rally in Kazan, the capital of Russia's Tatarstan region, in support of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny.

Nineteen-year-old Andrei Lagunin said over the weekend that he was ordered to pay 10,000 rubles ($135) for taking part in an unsanctioned rally and ordered to leave Russia before March 9, even though he insists that he did not take part in the pro-Navalny rally but was walking along the street where police dispersed the demonstrators.

His lawyer, Viktor Shabanov, told the newspaper Vechernyaya Kazan that the motion to deport his client from Russia will be appealed, as the decision was unlawful.

Several nationwide demonstrations were held in January and February against the arrest of the Kremlin critic, who was detained at a Moscow airport on January 17 upon his arrival from Germany, where he was recovering from being poisoned with what several European laboratories concluded was a military-grade chemical nerve agent.

Navalny has insisted that his poisoning in August while he was traveling in Siberia was ordered directly by President Vladimir Putin, which the Kremlin has denied.

Last month, a Moscow court ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of his parole in an old embezzlement case that was widely considered to be politically motivated.

His 3 1/2-year suspended sentence from the case was converted into a jail term, though the court said he will serve 2 1/2 years in prison given time already served in detention.

More than 10,000 supporters of Navalny were detained across Russia during and after the January rallies.

Many people were either fined or handed several-day jail terms, while at least 90 were charged with crimes and several have been fired by their employers.

With reporting by Vechernyaya Kazan