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Russian Court Arrests Exiled Politician Gudkov in Absentia

Dmitry Gudkov. Kirill Kolchanov / flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered the arrest in absentia of exiled opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov over his criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gudkov, who served in Russia’s lower-house State Duma from 2011 to 2016, said in October that he had been charged with spreading “fake news” about the Russian military.

Russia’s Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Gudkov in December.

Moscow’s Khoroshevsky District court ruled to place Gudkov, 44, in pre-trial detention for two months as soon as he is extradited to Russia.

The former lawmaker faces up to 10 years in prison under Russia’s wartime censorship laws.

Russia’s Justice Ministry declared Gudkov a “foreign agent” early last year, just days after he addressed the European Parliament as a member of the Russian Anti-War Committee.

Gudkov left Russia for Ukraine in 2021 after being briefly detained in what he called a “fake” criminal case over alleged unpaid rent from several years before.

He said at the time he planned to join his parents in Bulgaria.

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