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Russian opposition leaders detained at Putin protest

Sergei Udaltsov (pictured) and Alexei Navalny were among several Russian opposition figures detained by police on Saturday at a protest against President Vladimir Putin, the two said on Twitter. Navalny posted a photo of himself in the police van.

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Russian police detained several opposition leaders, including Alexei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov, during a protest staged by about 200 people in central Moscow on Saturday, they said on Twitter.

"I was walking on the sidewalk. They detained me without any explanation," Left Front movement leader Udaltsov, one of the prominent organisers of mass protests against President Vladimir Putin, said on his Twitter account.

Navalny also posted a photo taken inside a police van which took him away to a police station along with another opposition activist Ilya Yashin.

"Alexei Navalny has been detained," Navalny's spokeswoman Anna Veduta said on Twitter. "People have blocked the road shouting 'SHAME'."

About 200 people had gathered near the headquarters of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) to protest at the latest wave of arrests and allegations that one opposition leader was tortured into making a confession

The demonstrators, carrying banners declaring: "I am against torture and repression", then spread out, apparently trying to make use of a Russian law that says a person can protest alone without any permission from the authorities.

Moscow police said that all three detained leaders would face administrative charges for violating public order.

The protest was called following the arrest and charging of activist Leonid Razvozzhayev, who had told rights campaigners last Tuesday that masked men kidnapped him the week before from Kiev, where he was applying for refugee status.

He said he was later smuggled into Russia and held in a cellar, where the men terrorised and threatened him for several days until he agreed to cooperate, after which he was handed over to Russian investigators to pen a confession.

Razvozzhayev, along with Udaltsov and Udaltsov's assistant Konstantin Lebedev has been charged with plotting mass riots after a smear documentary aired on a pro-Kremlin television channel claimed the trio want to overthrow Putin.

Lebedev and Razvozzhayev are currently in Moscow's Lefortovo prison, while Udaltsov has so far been allowed his freedom with restrictions to travel.

(AFP)
 

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