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Putin Critic Freed From Jail. Then Arrested on His Way Out

Alexei Navalny was slapped with a 20-day sentence after being jailed for a month
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2018 5:02 PM CDT
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny stands in a court room as he waits for a session in Moscow.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

(Newser) – President Vladimir Putin's most visible critic was released from a Russian jail on Monday only to be immediately arrested again and thrown back in. Alexei Navalny served a 30-day sentence on charges he staged an unsanctioned protest before being re-arrested on charges he staged a rally that caused bodily harm to police officers, per the AP. Navalny, who has long been the face of Russian opposition to the Putin regime, denied the allegations and argued he couldn't have organized the rally in question because he was in a Moscow jail serving out the 30-day sentence when it happened.

Per the BBC, the 42-year-old opposition leader and his allies have said they believe the arrest was politically motivated. It also comes at a time of political unrest in Russia, sparked in part by an increase in the country's retirement age. Putin's own approval ratings have dropped amid the outrage and observers say the issue has become a noose around the necks of Putin-alligned candidates running for regional offices. It's a wave of discontent that Navalny and his allies have harnessed as they organize anti-government demonstrations in cities across the vast country. Navalny's prominence has frequently put him in the Kremlin's crosshairs. Just this month, Putin's chief of the National Guard challenged Navalny to a duel and threatened to "make a good juicy beef steak" of the opposition leader. (Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)

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