Russian opposition activist to spend 1 year in colony for attacking police

A Russian opposition activist was sentenced on Monday to one and half years in a penal colony for attacking a police officer during an unsanctioned rally in central Moscow last year.

Grigory Torbeyev, member of the Left Front opposition movement, hit the officer in the face with a burning flare as police dispersed the Day of Wrath rally on Moscow’s downtown Tverksaya Square in November 2010.

Torbeyev was detained at the scene and a criminal case was launched against him. The officer, Yevgeny Kovalev, was taken to hospital and treated for eye injuries and concussion.

After spending six months in a pretrial detention center, Torbeyev will now have to spend another year in the penal colony. Prosecutors initially demanded him to be sentenced to two years in the colony.

Torbeyev supporters who were present in the courtroom protested angrily against the Tverskoy Court’s verdict. His defense is preparing to file an appeal.


Russian Opposition Activist Released After Hunger Strike

MOSCOW — A Russian opposition activist who went on hunger strike after being sentenced to 10 days’ administrative detention was released early on October 20 after his health deteriorated, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

Sergei Udaltsov, a coordinator for the opposition movement Left Front, was sentenced on October 13 after being found guilty of resisting police.

He told RFE/RL after the verdict was pronounced that he considered it unjust and would therefore start a “dry hunger strike,” meaning he would not eat or drink.

Udaltsov’s health deteriorated this week and he was taken to a Moscow hospital for treatment. Doctors then released him to recuperate at home.

Udaltsov told RFE/RL he felt normal and his health had “stabilized” after the hospital treatment. He said he was very surprised to have been released three days early.

Udaltsov was one of the organizers of the opposition Day of Wrath protest in Moscow on October 12.

He was arrested that day after he and other Day of Wrath participants tried to march to the president’s office to submit their written demands to the presidential chief of staff.

The Moscow authorities gave permission for the Day of Wrath, but only as a gathering, not as a march, which is why police intervened and arrested several activists.

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