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Putin Foe Defies House Arrest, Busted at Protest

Alexei Navalny gets suspended sentence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 30, 2014 12:09 AM CST
Updated Dec 30, 2014 11:06 AM CST

(Newser) – Police have detained President Vladimir Putin's chief foe, who has broken the terms of house his arrest to attend a protest of several thousand just outside the Kremlin. The unsanctioned demonstration today came hours after Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner, was found guilty of fraud and given a suspended sentence of 3.5 years. His brother was sent to prison. The convictions are widely seen as a political vendetta against any opposition to Putin and his government. Alexei Navalny, who has been under house arrest since February, broke its terms to attend the rally and was rounded up by police as he approached the site of the protest.

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Navalny and his brother Oleg were convicted of defrauding a cosmetics company. Navalny—who said The Wire inspired his run for Moscow mayor last year—was previously sentenced to five years for embezzlement, but the conviction was widely seen as dubious and the sentence was later suspended. The verdict comes as Russians are preparing for New Year's and Orthodox Christmas. (Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)

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