A Russian court has sentenced a man to 1.5 years in prison for resisting police at an anti-corruption rally organized by opposition leader Alexei Navalny earlier this year.
On March 26, tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets across the country in the biggest public display of dissent since mass protests erupted in late 2011 and 2012.
The rallies came on the back of an investigation by Navalny’s team into the alleged corrupt practices of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. A video of the investigation has been viewed more than 25 million times on YouTube.
A Moscow district court sentenced Dmitry Krepkin on Thursday to 1.5 years in prison after finding him guilty of striking a riot police officer on the thigh during the protest on Moscow’s Pushkin Square, the human rights NGO Agora said in a statement on its website. Prosecutors had asked for a three-year prison sentence.
Krepkin pleaded innocent to the charges, saying he had struck the officer’s baton — not his leg, the Interfax news agency reported.
More than 500 people were arrested at the March 26 protest in Moscow, 7 of whom were charged with resisting arrest, Interfax reports.
The organizer of the protest, Navalny, has made clear his presidential ambitions, even though a previous criminal conviction — which his supporters say is politically motivated — bars him from running in elections next year.