Russian opposition leader Navalny reports arrest

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23 February, 2018

Police detained Russia's main opposition leader as he came out of a dental surgery yesterday, less than a month before the presidential election.

The decision by Russian authorities to ban the 41-year-old lawyer now puts an end to Navalny's campaign to boycott the forthcoming elections which he says amounts to the rigged reappointment of Vladimir Putin.

"They offered me a lift to wherever I wanted, but I declined and went back to work", Navalny wrote in another post. "I don't understand what happened and why it took seven people to detain me", he said.

The legal manoeuvring was widely interpreted as a precautionary measure, meant to ensure that Navalny could be safely tucked away, if need be, in the prelude to the Russian presidential election March 18.

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If found guilty of the police charges, Navalny faces up to 30 days in jail, a sentence which would see him sit out the rest of the pre-election period and voting day itself behind bars.

Navalny, who is President Vladimir Putin's most visible and vehement foe, said on his Twitter account that he was detained on Thursday after leaving a dentist's office.

Navalny's appeal against the Central Election Commission's move was rebuffed by the Supreme Court which ruled that the decision to fully ban him from the presidential race is constitutional.

Navalny has already been barred from running in the election after officials decided he was ineligible because of a suspended prison sentence handed down after he organized protests against the government.


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