Russian court releases imprisoned actor Ustinov after outcry

Moscow (dpa) - A Russian court has released imprisoned actor Pavel Ustinov on the condition that he not leave Moscow, state media reported on Friday.

The little-known 23-year-old actor's sentencing this week to three and a half years for allegedly attacking a police officer detaining him at a protest has incited a widespread outcry.
Video of the detention does not appear to show the alleged attack. Ustinov has said he was not participating in the protest. An online petition for his release has received nearly 150,000 signatures.
The court is to reconsider Ustinov's case next Thursday. Critics of the conviction have included senior officials, including a leader of the country's ruling United Russia party, Andrei Turchak, who is a deputy chairman of Russia's upper house of parliament.
"The situation in which actor Pavel Ustinov finds himself is a blatant injustice. It is impossible to ignore or keep silent," Turchak said in a statement.
The country's most influential religious organization, the Russian Orthodox Church, has said it would look into the matter. The church has close ties with the upper echelons of the Russian government.
The incident occurred amid a wave of protests that erupted in recent months as electoral authorities refused to allow several opposition politicians onto the ballot for Moscow's city council elections.
The elections, held last week, preserved United Russia's control over the city council but with a loss of about a third of their seats, as the party has struggled to retain popularity.

Friday, September 20th 2019

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