Navalny arrested before march

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Moscow's Presnensky District Court found the opposition activist Alexey Navalny guilty of the repeat administrative offense - agitating for an unauthorized demonstration in the metro - and sentenced him to 15 days in prison. Now, whatever the results of talks of the opposition about the place to organize the march, Navalny won`t be able to attend it. Moreover, the question may be raised about replacing Navalny`s suspended sentence under "Kirovles" case with the jail time.

On Sunday, February 15 the opposition leader was detained by the police while handing out flyers agitating to take part in the anti-crisis "Spring" march. The law enforcement authorities considered that his actions can be interpreted as a violation of the law on meetings.

On Thursday Navalny was taken to court in connection with the criminal case under Article 20.2 point 8 of the Code of Administrative Offenses "Violation of the procedure for organizing or holding meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets". The punishment involves a fine, community service or an administrative arrest for up to 30 days.

According to Navalny, Irina Zubova who judges his case ordered a 15-day imprisonment to him in the past for "mass festivities" in May 2012 that took place shortly after the inauguration of Vladimir Putin. On this basis Navalny submitted a petition to remove the Judge, but Zubova did not grant that request.

"After studying all the materials of the case, the only possible decision to make is to find me not guilty, says Navalny`s spokesperson Kira Yarmish.There`s no need to fine me - I have no money, and there`s no need to put me in the detention room - I have no time".

In the end, Moscow's Presnensky District Court sentenced Alexey Navalny to the administrative arrest for 15 days.Now the Federal Penitentiary Service may raise a question about replacing Navalny`s suspended sentence under "Kirovles" with the jail time, said Navalny`s spokesperson Kira Yarmish.

We should remind that among the applicants to hold the march are Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Alexey Navalny, Boris Nemtsov, Mikhail Kasyanov and Alexander Ryklin. It was scheduled to organize the march on Tverskoy boulevard, there was no further rally planned. Moscow City Administration proposed to move the march to Maryino.

In his blog Navalny wrote that he has nothing against it, although the members of the organizing committee expressed different points on this issue. The politician believes that the march can be held anywhere: "People live there as well. Actually, I myself have been living in this Maryino for 17 years".

"I think it's an instinctive desire for preventing Navalny from participating in the march, says the Vice-President of the Center for Political Technologies Alexey Makarkin. On the one hand, the authorities propose to hold the march in Maryino where Navalny lives. On the other hand, Navalny is put in jail and portrayed as a heroic victim once again. Now many of those who were too lazy to go to Maryino may go there on principle".

The president of the “Petersburg Politics” Fund Mikhail Vinogradov believes that the court made the decision to participate in the march rather moral and ethical than socio-political, and in his view such circumstances can lead to an increase in the number of participants.

"Navalny is a lawyer himself, he should foresee the consequences of certain actions, said the Head of the Political expert group Konstantin Kalachev. He could wait till March 1 to be arrested, if he wants it so much. It was strange to count on leniency handing out flyers in the metro being under house arrest. His hands and feet are tied but he creates occasions himself, sometimes out of nowhere".

Text and pictures by GAZETA.RU