24 May 2018 17:40

Navalny foundation lawyer Zhdanov detained for organizing unpermitted rally on May 5

MOSCOW. May 24 (Interfax) - Ivan Zhdanov, a lawyer working for Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, has been detained for organizing an unauthorized opposition rally on May 5, Leonid Volkov, the head of Navalny's headquarters, said.

"Ivan Zhdanov was just detained while leaving the office. The very same Article 20.2 [of the Russian Administrative Offense Code], they found another 'organizer of a rally via a retweet,'" he wrote on Twitter.

Zhdanov is facing ten-day administrative arrest for violating the established procedure for organizing or holding an assembly, rally, demonstration, procession, or picket.

On Wednesday, Moscow's Tverskoi District Court found Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh guilty of a repeat violation of the procedure for organizing a public event and sentenced her to 25 days of administrative arrest.

In Mid-April, Navalny's supporters notified the Moscow mayor's office about holding a mass event dubbed "For the Right to Be a Citizen" to include a procession along Tverskaya Street and a rally on Manezhnaya Square on May 5.

In response, the authorities suggested a number of alternative routes in various Moscow districts, saying that the center needed to be prepped for the Victory Parade and other celebratory events.

Navalny and rally organizers were not satisfied with any of suggested venues and urged their supporters on social networks to gather on Pushkinskaya Square on May 5.

According to police, about 1,500 people, many of whom shouted slogans opposing the incumbent authorities and displayed banners, gathered on Tverskaya in the afternoon on May 5, despite Moscow prosecutors' warning about participating in unauthorized rallies.

After repeatedly demanding that participants in the rally disperse, police began detaining them. According to official reports, 300 people were detained. The opposition said that over 500 were detained.

Navalny was detained on Pushkinskaya Square. Two administrative protocols, one on a repeat violation of the procedure for organizing a public event and the other on resisting police, were filed against him. On May 15, the Tverskoi District Court found him guilty and sentenced him to 30 and 15 days of arrest for the two charges. The terms are not cumulative, so Navalny will spend 30 days in custody.