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Anti-corruption leader Alexey Navalny gets a month in jail for protesting Putin's reelection, will miss planned rally against pension reform

Meduza
Alexey Navalny before trial, August 27, 2018
Alexey Navalny before trial, August 27, 2018
Vasily Maximov / AFP / Scanpix / LETA

All for another “illegal protest”

In a familiar scene, a Moscow court sentenced Alexey Navalny to 30 days in jail on Monday, August 27, convicting him of the misdemeanor offense of organizing an unpermitted protest on January 28 to promote a “voters’ boycott” of the March 2018 presidential election (where Vladimir Putin ultimately claimed almost 77 percent of the vote). Police briefly detained Navalny on January 28, and then formally pressed charges on February 22. His hearing was scheduled to take place in March, but it was postponed indefinitely, apparently until the authorities needed a reason to throw him back in jail.

He'll miss the pension protest

Navalny’s latest jail sentence will keep the anti-corruption activist from attending a September 9 protest against the government’s plan to raise the retirement age. The nationwide rallies will take place on the day the country holds regional elections. (In Moscow, city officials have again refused to issue a permit to Navalny’s supporters.)

The court thinks his lawyers are speed readers

The judge refused to postpone the hearing to give Navalny’s lawyers time to read the 219-page case file. The judge also refused to admit as evidence any of the video surveillance footage submitted by the defense, allowing just a single witness called by Navalny’s attorneys: a man who testified that Navalny did not resist arrest when detained by police in downtown Moscow on January 28. The court refused to dismiss the case, even though Navalny was not one of the activists who submitted the original permit request to Moscow City Hall.

A familiar face in lockup

Navalny’s most recent trip to jail was in May, after he was arrested at an anti-Putin rally on May 5 and sentenced to a month behind bars for disobeying police orders and organizing an unpermitted protest.