Tue, 25 Feb 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Prosecutor-General's Office to review the legality of the sentencing of an opposition activist imprisoned for repeatedly taking part in unauthorized rallies, the Kremlin said.

Konstantin Kotov was sentenced to four years in prison in September 2019 under a controversial law that criminalizes participation in more than one unsanctioned protest within a 180-day period.

Putin ordered an investigation into Kotov's conviction to establish if the verdict was lawful and justified, the Kremlin said on its website.

The 34-year-old computer programmer was detained on August 10 for taking part in a rally to demand opposition and independent candidates be put on the ballot for the Moscow City Duma election that was held on September 8.

The barring of the would-be candidates sparked a wave of protests in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia last summer, some of which were violently suppressed by police as thousands were briefly detained, sparking international condemnation.

Kotov was one of several activists punished with prison sentences following the protests in what has been dubbed the 'Moscow Case.'

A group of Russian Orthodox priests highlighted the case of Kotov in a September 18, 2019, open letter expressing concern over the authorities' crackdown on the protesters.

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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