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Moscow Court Extends Razvozzhayev Arrest

Moscow's Basmanny District Court on Wednesday extended until April the arrest of leftist opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev on charges of plotting mass riots.

Razvozzhayev also stands accused of illegally crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border in mid-October in order to avoid the charges and of robbing 500 hats from a Siberian fur trader 15 years ago.

The suspect will be transported to Siberia as part of the robbery probe, an investigator told the court Wednesday, Interfax reported.

Investigators said he turned himself in October, but Razvozzhayev has said that he was kidnapped in Ukraine and brought to Russia by unidentified men who exerted psychological pressure on him.

At the hearing Wednesday, Razvozzhayev told the judge that he saw in the audience one of the men who kidnapped him and forced him to sign a document saying he surrendered voluntarily, the Rapsi legal news agency reported.

The judge promised to record Razvozzhayev's remark but said that the law didn't allow for any further action to be taken. Meanwhile, the alleged kidnapper smiled at Razvozzhayev, the report said.

Earlier, the Investigative Committee refused to open a criminal case into Razvozzhayev's accusations.

He faces up to two years in prison for illegally crossing the border, 15 years for robbery and 10 years for plotting mass riots.

Razvozzhayev was arrested for two months in Moscow in late October.

The accusations against him stem from "Anatomy of a Protest 2," a documentary-style program broadcast on state-controlled NTV in early October that said that Razvozzhayev and two other activists, Sergei Udaltsov and Konstantin Lebedev, plotted riots to destabilize Russia.

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