From VOA – ENGLISH
A Moscow court has ordered Russia’s most prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny to serve 30 days in prison for his role in organizing massive protests against President Vladimir Putin earlier this month.
Navalny and hundreds of his supporters were detained during the demonstrations in Moscow and dozens of other cities on the eve of Putin’s inauguration to another six-year presidential term. Navalny was released a day later after being charged with inciting an unauthorized rally.
Navalny, who also organized massive street protests to coincide with Putin’s 2012 re-election, was barred from the presidential ballot in March because of a conviction on financial crimes charges he contends were fabricated.
In the election, Putin won against seven challengers, garnering almost 77 percent of the vote. International observers criticized the poll, saying there had been no real choice in the election and complained of widespread allegations of ballot rigging. Russian election officials described the violations as “minor,” but said they were investigating.
Putin has been either president or prime minister since 1999.
Jamie Dettmer contributed to this story.