Aides to Russian Opposition Leader Sentenced to Jail
Posted January 31, 2018 8:37 p.m. EST
Two associates of the Russian opposition leader Alexei A. Navalny were sentenced to jail on Wednesday after hosting a webcast about nationwide protests in Russia.
The two activists, Ruslan Shaveddinov, a spokesman for Navalny’s campaign, and Kira Yarmysh, who works for Navalny and his foundation, were detained in Moscow on Tuesday.
They were quickly found guilty of breaching rules for demonstrations by giving publicity to a “voters’ boycott” protest that was held last Sunday. As the protest was unfolding, Shaveddinov and Yarmysh were covering it through a live feed on YouTube and on their Twitter accounts.
Shaveddinov was sentenced to eight days in jail, and Yarmysh was sentenced to five days in jail.
Navalny has been barred from running for president because of a suspended prison sentence in a fraud case, a prosecution he has denounced as politically motivated. He has called on Russian voters to boycott what he says will be a rigged presidential election on March 18.
The two activists were detained Tuesday at a Moscow airport after returning from Lithuania, where they had traveled to prevent their live feed from being interrupted by the Russian police.
Critics of the arrests said that the activities for which the two were sentenced took place outside Russia, beyond the jurisdiction of Russian law.
Shortly before the verdicts for Shaveddinov and Yarmysh were announced, a number of other members of Navalny’s campaign were sentenced to longer jail terms. Denis Mikhailov, local coordinator in St. Petersburg, was sentenced to 30 days behind bars, and Vladislav Zlobin, who works in the Lipetsk office, was sentenced to 20 days in jail.