Navalny taken for questioning

Published: Friday 16th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Russian anti-corruption campaigner and leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been taken in for questioning, escorted by a dozen police who he said intercepted him outside his Moscow apartment building.

Mr Navalny, a vehement foe of President Vladimir Putin, was convicted in late December of fraud and given a three and a half year suspended sentence. The court said that until his appeals are exhausted he must remain under house arrest.

He has been allowed to leave his home in recent days but has been followed by law enforcement officers posted outside his door.

Mr Navalny posted on Twitter that he was met by 12 police officers and taken to the federal Investigative Committee, which had summoned him for questioning about his anti-corruption activities.

He said the whole thing was like a movie: “Three police are with me in the car and three in plainclothes in the car next to us. Too bad I didn’t bring my dark glasses.”

The night before, police detained 13 people from about 100 at a protest in central Moscow in support of Mr Navalny and his brother, who was sent to prison in the same case. The protesters were confronted by a much larger group of pro-Kremlin activists, which led to scuffles.

In St Petersburg, about 300 people rallied peacefully in support of Mr Navalny.

The Kremlin did not jail him apparently to avoid making him a martyr, but also seems determined to prevent him from organising any political opposition. Mr Navalny played a leading role in anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow in 2011 and 2012 that drew hundreds of thousands.

Published: Friday 16th January 2015 by The News Editor

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