October 2, 2017
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has received a 20-day jail sentence for calling an unsanctioned rally in St. Petersburg. Its his third such sentence in an unusual “election campaign,” even by Russian standards.
A court in Moscow handed Alexei Navalny, leader of Russia’s opposition Progress Party, a jail sentence of 20 days for repeatedly organizing unsanctioned public events.
Navalny and the Russian courts are repeatedly crossing paths as a result of the anti-corruption activist’s “presidential campaign.” Russia votes in March in a curious election: Incumbent Vladimir Putin is yet to confirm he will seek another term, while Navalny says he intends to compete although his recent jail sentences mean that officially he is ineligible.
Monday’s sentence related to a rally the 41-year-old Navalny was planning to hold in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-most populous city and President Putin’s hometown. The rally, part of Navalny’s campaign tour of Russia, was scheduled for Saturday, October 7, Putin’s 64th birthday.
“Twenty days in jail,” Navalny wrote on Twitter, claiming that the Kremlin was “scared” of his rallies, while in court he called the verdict “a gift to Putin for his birthday.”