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Russia Jails Former Opposition Mayor for Navalny Protest Tweets

Former Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman pictured outside the city's Police Station No. 7 on May 12. Donat Sorokin / TASS

Updated on at 3:40 on May 13 to add that Roizman's sentence was shortened.

The former opposition mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city will be released from jail after serving a 24-hour sentence for promoting this year's pro-Navalny protests on Twitter, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday.

Ex-Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman was sentenced to nine days in jail the day before when a court found him guilty of "organizing an unsanctioned event" on Jan. 31 and April 21.

Mass protests calling for Navalny's release were held across Russia on Jan. 23, Jan. 31 and April 21. Tens of thousands took to the streets during the protests, which weren't sanctioned by the authorities, with over 12,000 detained nationwide and widespread reports of police violence against protesters.  

Roizman's charges stemmed from his tweets that preceded the Jan. 31 rallies, which said “We must go out on the 31st. I will”; “Creatures, we must go out”; and “They are doing everything possible so that as many people as possible come out on the 31st. The main thing is not to interfere with morons.” 

His lawyers successfully appealed to reduce his sentence to one day in both administrative cases.

Roizman was also ordered to 30 hours of compulsory labor.

During Wednesday's hearing, an Interior Ministry representative said that Roizman organized the protests by indicating “the date and place” in his tweets, MBKh Media reported. 

Roizman pleaded not guilty to both administrative offenses, which carry a maximum sentence of 10 days.

“If I were the organizer of this action, I would say that I am the organizer, but this is not so. I was just outlining my position,” Roizman told the court.

“I know what to do in the cell. Don’t worry about me…my duty is to not be afraid,” the Znak.com news website quoted Roizman as saying.

The former mayor has attended most of this year’s pro-Navalny protests in Yekaterinburg and has expressed his support for Navalny on his Twitter account. 

He was previously fined 20,000 rubles (around $270) in March for taking part in the January rallies.

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