Navalny set free after 30 days in jail
RUSSIAN opposition leader Alexei Navalny said he had been freed on Thursday, the same day the World Cup was due to begin in the country, after serving a 30-day sentence for organising an illegal protest.
“I’m with you again after a 30-day business trip. I’m so happy to be free,” he wrote on Twitter.
The 42-year-old was sentenced a month ago after calling for the demonstrations ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s fourth inauguration.
Navalny’s lawyer and supporters said the trial was politically motivated and the opposition activist said his rights had been violated.
The charismatic politician, barred from challenging
Putin in March’s presidential election, had called on Russians to stage rallies across the country on May 5 under the slogan “Not our Czar”.
Nearly 1,600 protesters were detained in 27 cities across Russia, according to OVD-Info, an independent monitor that tracks arrests.
Navalny himself was grabbed by police and carried away shortly after appearing in Moscow’s packed Pushkin Square.
The European Union condemned “police brutality and mass arrests” following the demonstrations, which saw officers in several cities beat protesters with truncheons and drag them along the ground.