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Opposition figure Navalny's suspended sentence may be replaced with prison term — lawyer

March 27, 18:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A Moscow court has ruled to arrest opposition figure and blogger Alexei Navalny for 15 days, finding him guilty of resisting police during detention at an unauthorized rally in the center of Moscow

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MOSCOW, March 27. /TASS/. After an administrative penalty and the arrest of Russian opposition figure and blogger Alexei Navalny takes effect, the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) may ask the court to replace his suspended sentence with a real prison term in the Yves Rocher embezzlement case, his lawyer has told TASS.

"In case today’s decisions on imposing an administrative arrest and a fine on Navalny take effect, the FSIN has the right to appeal to the court for substituting a suspended sentence for a real prison term or for extending a probation period under this case and imposing additional restrictions," Vadim Kobzev said.

Moscow’s Tverskoy court ruled on Monday to arrest opposition figure and blogger Alexei Navalny for 15 days, finding him guilty of resisting police during detention at an unauthorized rally in the center of the Russian capital on Sunday, a TASS correspondent reported.

Earlier in the day, Navalny was also fined 20,000 rubles ($350) for organizing the event.

More than 600 people were detained during Sunday’s unauthorized rally in Moscow, the city’s regional security department said. The rally’s organizers had earlier refused to hold the demonstration at two other sites in the capital proposed by the authorities.

According to police, Navalny was detained during the protest as he refused to leave the scene and offered resistance to police. The opposition activist told the court that he had met all the legal demands of police. Navalny’s lawyers plan to appeal the court’s decision.

The opposition figure was charged with an administrative offence for "Organizing Mass Simultaneous Presence and (or) Movement of Citizens in Public Places That Caused Violation of Public Order." This article carries a maximum punishment in the form of an administrative arrest for 15 days.

Under law, under the presence of two decisions on administrative offences, law-enforcement bodies may ask a court to replace Navalny’s suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher embezzlement case with a real prison term.

On December 30, 2014, Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky Court found the Navalny brothers guilty of embezzling Yves Rocher funds and sentenced Alexey Navalny to a suspended sentence of 3 years and 6 months with a probation period of five years. As another sentence against him (embezzlement in the Kirovles case) has not taken effect as of yet, the suspended sentence under the Yves Rocher case is the only one that FSIN can ask to replace with a jail time.

"The FSIN has twice asked to substitute the suspended sentence for a real prison term for Navalny in connection with the rulings on administrative violations, but the court has both times refused. Thus, the FSIN has been always taking the opportunity, so this may also be expected this time," the lawyer explained.

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