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Constitutional Court Head Gags Political Statements Over Rally Legislation

The head of the Constitutional Court has asked claimants debating the constitutionality of legislation passed in June that hiked penalties for illegal demonstrations to refrain from political statements.

"I ask you not to cross the limits of the case's consideration," court head Valery Zorkin said, adding that the Constitutional Court "is not a political playground," Interfax reported Tuesday.

The court is considering complaints filed separately by Eduard Limonov, leader of the banned National Bolshevik Party, and a group of State Duma deputies over the legislation, which imposed tough fines for violations at public rallies in the wake of a succession of anti-Kremlin street protests.

The claimants argue that the amendments were approved with significant procedural violations and without proper discussion.

Yelena Mizulina, A Just Russia lawmaker, said while presenting her complaint in court Tuesday that the adoption of the amendments was accompanied by "gross, voluntary procedural violations," according to the news agency.

In response, Zorkin asked her to "keep to legal argumentation," Interfax said. "We are considering only judicial matters, namely whether the law is constitutional or not."

Eduard Limonov will present his complaint to the court later, the report said.

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