Tue, 19 Mar 2019

A court in Russia has canceled the pretrial arrest of an opposition activist who finished his 4 1/2-year prison term on December 2 but was remanded in custody after he was charged with disrupting prison operations.

The Arkhangelsk Regional Court in Russia's northwest ordered Sergei Mokhnatkin's release on December 14, his lawyer Andrei Krekov said.

On November 29, a lower court in the region ordered that Mokhnatkin must remain in custody for two months due to the investigation into the new case against him, which he vehemently rejects as politically motivated.

Mokhnatkin, 64, was sentenced in 2014 after being found guilty of assaulting two police officers during a December 2013 antigovernment protest in Moscow.

While in prison, Mokhnatkin held several hunger strikes protesting conditions he faced in the penitentiary, including what he said were regular beatings by prison guards.

In 2017, he was handed a further two-year sentence after being found guilty of insulting a guard and other charges. That sentence was to be served concurrently with his previous term.

Mokhnatkin first came to prominence in 2009 when he was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of attacking a police officer during another opposition rally.

He was pardoned by then-President Dmitry Medvedev in April 2012, one month before Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency.

Based on reporting by OVD-Info and Mediazona

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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