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Opposition activist Navalny fined 1,000 roubles for unsanctioned March 5 rally

March 15, 2012, 14:07 UTC+3

The two police officers who signed under the protocol on detaining Navalny, testified at the hearing

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MOSCOW, March 15 (Itar-Tass) — Tverskaya district magistrate Olga Zatomskaya fined Opposition activist Alexei Navalny 1,000 roubles for participation in an unsanctioned rally after the March 5 protest action in Pushkinskaya Square.

When police detained the blogger, they drew a protocol of administrative offense against him under Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses /"violation of the established procedure of organizing a meeting, rally, march or picket"/.

Naval insisted on his innocence.

At the beginning of the court session, his lawyer Vadim Kobzev stated recusal of judge Zamoskaya /who became famous for passing guilty verdicts for illegal rally participants/ as she had repeatedly found Opposition activists guilty.

Navalny repeatedly criticized her on his blog, so Kobzev said her attitude toward his client might be biased /the lawyer passed to Zatomskaya some copies of Live Journal statements with criticism of the judge by Navalny/.

The judge refused to recuse herself.

Navalny, when commenting on the substance of the case, explained that he had been at a sanctioned rally in Pushkinskaya Square on March 5. "After the rally, a group of people, including myself, took part in a meeting with State Duma lawmaker Ilya Ponomaryov. Some 30 minutes after the meeting, special task force police began to act strangely - they drove people to and fro, whereupon two policemen detained me," he said.

"I did not participate in the unsanctioned rally; I did not organize it," the blogger underlined.

The two police officers who signed under the protocol on detaining Navalny, testified at the hearing. The blogger claimed it was other police officers who had detained him.

However, the police Sergeants gave detailed answers about circumstances of that evening.

"Do you know Navalny?" Zatomskaya asked one of the policemen. "Yes, we met at similar protest actions," he said, adding that police knew almost all Opposition activists.

He claimed that Navalny, together with other persons had taken part in an unsanctioned picket in Pushkinskaya Square, shouting anti-government slogans.

"We walked up to them, introduced ourselves and asked to leave the place," the policeman said.

Meanwhile, Navalny continued to insist that it had been not a picket but a meeting with the State Duma lawmaker.

"I don't know what meetings you held, but you violated administrative legislation," the second policeman intervened.

The blogger said he would appeal the judge's ruling.

The conclusion is that judge Zatomskaya passes same decisions, and does not consider any proof, Navalny said.

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