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Russian court sentences opposition leaders to 4.5 years each in jail

Published on Jul 25, 2014 2:42 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court sentenced two protest leaders to 4.5 years each in jail on Thursday on charges of inciting mass riots against President Vladimir Putin, in a case the opposition sees as part of a clampdown on his foes while all eyes are on Ukraine.

Sergei Udaltsov, who shouted 'Freedom!" as he was led from the court room, and Leonid Razvozhayev were both accused of coordinating protests which turned violent on May 6, 2012, the eve of Mr Putin's inauguration for a third term as president. The state prosecution had called for eight-year jail terms.

"Udaltsov, Razvozhayev ... agreed between themselves repeatedly on the organisation of mass disorders on the territory of the Russian Federation," Judge Alexander Zamashnyuk told the Moscow court.

During a more than nine-hour reading of the verdict, the judge was repeatedly interrupted by shouts and applause in support of the defendants, who listened in grim silence.

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