Thu, 22 Aug 2019

MOSCOW -- A court in Moscow has sentenced a senior aide to Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny to 15 days in jail -- just hours after he completed a 20-day sentence for live streaming an unsanctioned rally in Moscow in September 2018 against an increase in Russia's retirement age.

Moscow's Tver district court on June 10 found Leonid Volkov guilty of organizing a public rally against the increase of the retirement age in St. Petersburg in September that hindered traffic. Volkov was brought to trial immediately after he completed his 20-day sentence over the Moscow rally.

The director of Navalny's Anticorruption Foundation, Ivan Zhdanov, said earlier that investigators threatened to charge Volkov with holding unsanctioned rallies against the pension reform in eight other cities.

On May 22, a Moscow court found Volkov guilty of inciting demonstrators to violence by broadcasting the September 2018 Moscow rally on social media. It said demonstrators scratched a parked car and slightly injured two police officers.

Volkov was arrested in Moscow on May 21 and was originally charged with organizing an unsanctioned rally. It was unclear why the charges were changed.

Volkov is a project manager at Navalny's Anticorruption Foundation, which has published several reports documenting alleged corruption in circles close to President Vladimir Putin, and led Navalny's campaign ahead of the March 2018 presidential election.

Navalny was barred from taking part in that election because of past convictions that he and his supporters say were fabricated to keep him out of electoral politics.

On September 9, Navalny and his supporters organized mass rallies in Moscow and other cities against the government's decision to raise the retirement age. Police detained more than 1,000 demonstrators across the country.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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