A court in southern Russia sentenced an opposition activist to 15 days in jail on Wednesday for spitting on a portrait of President Vladimir Putin, his lawyer said.
Dmitry Karuyev, a member of the Other Russia movement, was detained as he staged a one-man protest outside the offices of the ruling United Russia party in Cheboksary, some 660 kilometers south of Moscow, on the eve of Putin’s May 7 inauguration for a third term.
Police said Karuyev’s actions could have triggered disorder.
“He did indeed spit on it, but it was just his way of expressing his views,” Karuyev’s lawyer, Alexei Glukhov, told RIA Novosti. “You cannot punish people for that.”
Glukhov also said he plans to appeal the decision.
Karuyev told regional media that he had “sneezed, not spat” on the portrait, which he had brought along to the protest.
Protest leaders Alexei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov were jailed for 15 days for disobeying police orders during the rolling protests which followed Putin’s inauguration. Their supporters claimed their arrests were illegal and both men were named prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.