Russsian Opposition Activist Faces New Assault Charges

MOSCOW, January 13 (RIA Novosti) – A new criminal case has been opened against Russian opposition activist Sergei Mokhnatkin, who was arrested last month for allegedly striking a police officer during an anti-government rally in Moscow, his lawyer said Monday.

Mokhnatkin, 59, has already being charged with using violence against a state representative and faces up to five years in prison.

“The Investigative Committee has opened a new case against Mokhnatkin related to the incident on the Triumfalnaya Square on December 31,” Vyacheslav Makarov said in his Twitter blog.

“This time the complainant is a female police officer,” the lawyer said.

The Investigative Committee later confirmed pressing new charges against Mokhnatkin.

According to investigators, Mokhnatkin attacked a male police colonel and a female police sergeant during an unsanctioned rally in support of the right to free assembly on New Year’s Eve. A medical examination confirmed bodily harm to both complainants.

Police said earlier that Mokhnatkin denied the charges and began a hunger strike at a pretrial detention center in Moscow.

This is not the first time that Mokhnatkin has been accused of assaulting a police officer.

In 2010 he was sentenced to 30 months in a labor camp for attacking a police officer during a December 2009 rally. He was released two years later after receiving a pardon from then-President Dmitry Medvedev.

Mokhnatkin claimed at the time that he was intervening to protect an elderly female protester who was being attacked by a policeman.


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