Russia jails two more opposition protesters
A Moscow court on Wednesday jailed two more opposition protesters for violence against police, bringing to four the number of people jailed over the recent anti-government demonstrations.
Judge Maria Sizintseva of Moscow’s Tverskoy district court sentenced 28-year-old Kirill Zhukov to three years in a penal colony, Interfax news agency reported.
Investigators said Zhukov hit an officer during an unsanctioned protest on July 27, causing him “physical pain”.
A video widely circulated on social media showed Zhukov touching a National Guard officer on his chin in an abrupt motion.
Another Moscow court jailed a second protester, Yevgeny Kovalenko, for three and a half years for throwing a rubbish bin towards police officers at the same protest.
Investigators said he initially grabbed a policeman by his bullet-proof vest to prevent the detention of another protester and before throwing the bin.
Kovalenko had denied the charge, saying he was trying to help other protesters avoid violent detentions, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
More than 1,400 people were briefly arrested in Moscow during the July 27 unsanctioned protest demanding free and fair local elections.
Zhukov and Kovalenko were among more than a dozen placed in pre-trial detention as part of a probe into “mass unrest” following the peaceful protest.
On Tuesday, two other people were jailed for attacks on police at the rally.
Danila Beglets, a father of two and the sole breadwinner of his family, was sentenced to two years in prison for attacking a policeman.
And Ivan Podkopayev, was convicted of attacking policemen with pepper spray and sentenced to three years in prison.
A spokesman for Russia’s National Guard told agencies that the harsh sentences “correspond to the gravity of the crimes that were committed”.
The convictions came as investigators dropped “mass unrest” charges against several others.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Moscow after authorities refused to allow prominent opposition candidates to stand for the city parliament in the September 8 elections.