Russian opposition leader Navalny released from jail — and arrested again

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released from jail on Monday at the end of a 30-day sentence for staging an unsanctioned protest — and then immediately detained again.

A police officer approached him and took him away just as he came out of a detention centre in Moscow at daybreak to be greeted by supporters and the media.

Navalny has been the driving force behind a recent series of anti-government rallies in dozens of cities and towns across Russia. 

Navalny's spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, said on Monday that Navalny is facing charges of staging a rally that caused bodily harm to unidentified people. 

Thousands of Russians have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest the Kremlin's plan to raise the retirement age. President Vladimir Putin's popularity rating has suffered, and he walked back some of the reforms.

Possible fine, 20 more days in jail

Navalny's new detention came after a 30-day stint in jail for planning an unauthorized demonstration in the Russian capital in January that called for a boycott of what he said would be a rigged presidential election.

He said at the time that his jail sentence was designed by the authorities to prevent him from leading national protests against the pension reform on Sept. 9, where more than 800 people were detained.
 
Leonid Volkov, a Navalny ally, wrote on Twitter on Monday morning that Navalny had been taken to a police station as he walked out of jail and was again being accused of violating protest laws.

Navalny's case will be heard in court later on Monday. He could face a fine and up to 20 days in jail, Yarmysh wrote on Twitter.

Outrage at the changes in the pension system has weighed heavily on Kremlin candidates running in regional elections in Russian regions. 

Early results from run-off votes in Sunday's gubernatorial elections in two Russian regions have opposition candidates beating Kremlin incumbents. A week earlier, an opposition candidate for governor in the Far East mounted protests following widespread reports of vote-rigging in favour of the Kremlin candidate. Several days later, election authorities cancelled the results of the elections and called a new vote.

With files from Reuters

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