MOSCOW: A Moscow court has sentenced a prominent associate of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny to eight days in jail on charges of participating in an illegal demonstration.
Ruslan Shaveddinov, who hosts video programs on Navalny’s YouTube channel, was pronounced guilty and sentenced on January 31, one day after he and Navalny’s press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, were detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
The court’s ruling stressed that Shaveddinov’s violations were committed “with the goal of forming a negative image of one of the registered candidates” for the March 18 presidential election, evidently referring to incumbent President Vladimir Putin.
Yarmysh is facing similar charges and could be sentenced to up to 10 days in jail when her case is heard.
On January 28, Shaveddinov and Yarmysh hosted an Internet broadcast covering a Navalny-organized national protest calling on Russians to boycott the election. The broadcast was produced in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
Navalny, who is barred from participating in the election because of a felony embezzlement conviction that he says is politically motivated, has said the election amounts to “the reappointment” of Putin, who has ruled Russia as either president or prime minister since 2000.
Navalny was himself arrested on his way to the January 28 protest in Moscow and was later released pending a court hearing.
At least 350 people were detained nationwide.