MOSCOW, April 1 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow court ruled on Monday to keep Sergei Udaltsov, a leftist activist charged with plotting to overthrow President Vladimir Putin, under home arrest until at least August.
Udaltsov, the leader of Russia’s Left Front political movement, and two other leftist activists were charged last October after the pro-Kremlin NTV channel aired what it said was secretly filmed footage of them seeking funding for the plot from a Georgian lawmaker, Givi Targamadze.
All four men are also accused of organizing “mass disorder” at a Moscow protest rally on the eve of Putin’s inauguration last May for a third presidential term. They face up to ten years behind bars if found guilty of the charges, which they deny.
One of the other activists in the case, Leonid Razvozzhayev, alleged last October that he had been abducted by Russian security services in Ukraine and forced into confessing to the charges. He remains in custody. Another suspect, Konstantin Lebedev, is also under house arrest. Georgia has said it will not extradite Targamadze to Russia.
Moscow’s Basmanny court ruled on Friday to keep Udaltsov under home arrest until at least August 6. He was first placed under house arrest on February 9. Investigators say he is a flight risk and breached a ban on traveling out of Moscow after he was first charged last autumn.
“Everything that is going on is black humor and a farce,” Udaltsov said in court on Friday, tweeted members of his Left Front movement.
The great-grandson of a prominent Bolshevik, Udaltsov was a key figure in the anti-Putin protests that rocked Moscow in late 2011 and 2012. He has previously been detained over 100 times on protest-related charges.
Udaltsov is one of a number of opposition figures who have been jailed or charged since Putin returned to power last year.
Protest figurehead Alexei Navalny currently faces a number of criminal charges and is expected to stand trial on large-scale embezzlement allegations later this month. He also faces ten years behind bars if found guilty of the charges, which he calls “absurd.”