Ally of Kremlin critic Navalny arrested over tweet

AFP , Wednesday 21 Feb 2018

An ally of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to ten days in detention after posting a tweet calling on followers to come to an unauthorised rally last month.

The Simonovsky District Court late on Tuesday ruled that Roman Rubanov was guilty of organising an unauthorised rally and sentenced him to ten days in police cells, his lawyer Ivan Zhdanov told Interfax news agency.

According to the ruling, Rubanov -- who heads Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation -- tweeted a link to a video by the Kremlin critic called "First step toward victory" in which Navalny appealed to Russians to attend the "voters' strike" rally on January 28.

Russian authorities have increasingly cracked down on the anti-corruption campaigner Navalny, who aimed to take part in the March presidential polls but was barred from standing over a controversial criminal conviction.

He is now calling for a boycott of the election.

Many of Navalny's associates have received administrative punishment over similar misdeeds, including his press secretaries who were sentenced to several days in custody after streaming footage of the protests online.

Last week Russia's media watchdog blocked Navalny's website, where he publishes exposes of corruption in Russia's top political echelon as well as calls for a boycott of the March 18 election.

People in his campaign have been endlessly harassed by the authorities, with campaign chief Leonid Volkov on Tuesday tweeting that they have already served a combined 2433 days behind bars and had to pay a total of 13.4 million rubles ($237 thousand) in various fines.

Short link: