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Moscow Opposition Deputy Gets Suspended Sentence for Multiple Protest Violations

Yulia Galyamina is a member of north-central Moscow’s Timiryazevsky District council. Sergei Karpukhin / TASS

Moscow opposition deputy Yulia Galyamina will walk free after receiving a suspended sentence under Russia’s law criminalizing multiple protest violations, the Mediazona news website reported Wednesday.

Galyamina, a member of north-central Moscow’s Timiryazevsky District council, is accused of demonstrating against local elections in the summer of 2019 and against Russia's constitutional reforms this summer. She was fined and spent nearly a month in detention for various infractions at the protests.

Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court found Galyamina, 47, guilty of violating the multiple-protest law and handed her a suspended sentence of two years, Mediazona cited judge Anatoly Belyakov as saying. 

Prosecutors had asked for a three-year sentence for Galyamina. Russians found guilty of taking part in unauthorized rallies, pickets or marches several times within a six-month period face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. 

During her final statement transcribed by Mediazona, Galyamina said the court case “proves to the whole country that I’m a real threat” to President Vladimir Putin.

“I, a woman, pose a threat to a man who is seemingly vested with all kinds of power. But this man is just a little man who’s afraid of soft female power,” she told the court.

Around 200 people gathered outside the court in Galyamina’s support, chanting slogans in support of political prisoners.

Denis Shenderevich, an opposition deputy on west Moscow's Kuntsevsky District council who turned out to support Galyamina, told The Moscow Times that the court's decision was dictated from above by political considerations.

"This is no court. It's a cover for a political decision," he said.

Galyamina, who has also said the case against her is politically motivated, is the fourth person to be prosecuted under the controversial law criminalizing multiple unauthorized protests that President Vladimir Putin signed in 2014. 

Those convicted for multiple protests and other violations are banned from running for office under another law that Putin signed earlier this year.

Outside the courthouse, Galyamina told reporters that her avoiding a custodial sentence was the result of her supporters' putting pressure on the authorities, citing an online petition against her prosecution signed by over 150,000 people.

"Every victim of political repression needs this level of support, regardess of who they are," she said.

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