Mon, 21 Oct 2019

The Moscow city prosecutor's office has asked a court to release actor Pavel Ustinov, who was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for violence against police during a protest rally last month he insists he did not participate in, until his sentence takes effect.

Ustinov's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Interfax news agency on September 19 that the Moscow City Court will look into the prosecutor's motion to release his client from custody until his sentence comes into force, which would not happen if the verdict is appealed and heard by the court.

Ustinov has until September 26 to file an appeal, which Kucherena has said will happen.

The lawyer's statement comes a day after some 100 actors staged a protest, each taking minute-long shifts holding a placard demanding the release of Ustinov. Russian law allows so-called single-picket protests without official permission.

A court in Moscow found Ustinov guilty of verbally insulting police and assaulting a National Guard officer during the August 3 rally and sentenced him on September 16.

Ustinov pleaded not guilty, saying he was standing nearby and was not participating in the rally at which activists challenged the refusal by officials to register opposition and independent candidates for Moscow city-council elections that took place on September 8.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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