Russian detained over protests in 'serious' condition

Moscow (AFP) –


A Russian man with diabetes was in a serious condition in hospital Sunday after being detained over opposition protests and deprived of insulin, Russian media reported.

Dmitry Vasilyev, a 43-year-old television director who was detained for "mass disorder" at a recent Moscow protest, was "in a serious condition in intensive care," RIA Novosti state news agency reported, citing a spokesman for a Moscow hospital.

Vasilyev was the 13th person to be named as a suspect in connection with alleged "mass disorder" at an unsanctioned protest on July 27.

The demonstration, called to denounce a lack of democratic freedoms under President Vladimir Putin's rule, resulted in nearly 1,400 arrests.

A decision to block opposition candidates from running for election to Moscow's city parliament has prompted a wave of protests that are among the largest since Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012.

Police have cracked down on protesters and detained far more people than at previous demonstrations.

Police detained 136 at a protest in Moscow on Saturday that was authorised by the city hall, with most taken into custody after they headed towards the presidential administration offices.

While protesters usually are charged only with administrative offences punishable by short jail terms, Vasilyev and 12 others including university students face criminal charges that can lead to a long prison sentence.

Vasilyev was detained late Friday and questioned overnight until around 4:00 am, during which time medics were called twice due to his poor state of health, his lawyer Tatiana Prilipko was quoted by the Mediazona news site as saying.

The interrogation was not halted however, Prilipko said.

Before he was transferred to a detention centre, Vasilyev's insulin and blood sugar meter had been confiscated despite his need for regular injections, Prilipko said.

The TV director was hospitalised on Saturday with elevated blood sugar levels.

On Sunday, a Moscow court due to rule on Vasilyev's further detention said it could not consider the case in his absence as prosecutors had requested, Mediazona reported.

The group specialises in coverage of political trials.