Opposition Activist Udaltsov Freed, Fined $30

A 10-day administrative detention order handed down to Left Front opposition movement leader Sergei Udaltsov was overturned in Moscow on Friday, the RAPSI news agency reported from the courtroom.

The court fined Udaltsov one thousand rubles ($30) instead of giving him a jail sentence.

Nevertheless, the opposition leader intends to appeal the decision, as he considers himself innocent.

Udaltsvo was arrested last Thursday in central Moscow for disobeying police orders as he tried to arrange an unauthorized march after an opposition rally on the Novy Arbat street.

The oppostion leader told reporters that the court ruling should be considered a miracle, an “historic event”, the likes of which he has not seen since being involved in political activism.

The presiding judge, Marina Tsivkina, on Friday denied the request of the defendant’s lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, to defer the hearing to Monday so they could include witness accounts and video evidence of the arrest. At the same time the judge relieved Udaltsov of the requirement to stand when being addressed in the courtroom, as is usual, because he was weakened due to the dry hunger strike he was adhering to.

Polozov maintined throughout the hearing that the grounds for Udaltov’s arrest were false and were written by a person who was not present during the defendant’s detainment.

“They [the evidence] do not reflect real facts. Udlatsov’s actions were not grounds for arrest, nor did they break any laws,” said Polozov.

Udaltsov followed this by saying that legal requirements were not fulfilled when he was taken into custody.

“They simply grabbed me by the legs and arms and carried me away. I have had to go through a two-day dry hunger strike, which could lead to hospitalization and what’s more, it’s my son’s birthday tomorrow,” he said, adding that he considered the actions taken against him to be harsh and unnecessary.


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