The former opposition mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city has been sentenced to nine days in jail for promoting this year’s nationwide pro-Navalny protests on his Twitter, the MBKh Media news website reported Wednesday.
Mass protests calling for the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny were held across Russia on Jan. 23, Jan. 31 and April 21. Tens of thousands took to the streets during the protests, which weren’t sanctioned by the authorities, with over 12,000 detained nationwide and widespread reports of police violence against protesters.
Ex-Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman was found guilty of organizing an unsanctioned event because of his tweets that preceded the Jan. 31 rallies, which said “We must go out on the 31st. I will”; “Creatures, we must go out”; and “They are doing everything possible so that as many people as possible come out on the 31st. The main thing is not to interfere with morons.”
The court also found him guilty of organizing the April 21 protest in a separate charge. The two sentences will be served simultaneously, meaning he will only spend a total of nine days behind bars.
He has been ordered to 30 hours of compulsory labor in addition to the nine-day jail term.
During Wednesday’s hearing, an Interior Ministry representative said that Roizman organized the protests by indicating “the date and place” in his tweets, MBKh Media reported.
Roizman pleaded not guilty to both administrative offenses, which carry a maximum sentence of 10 days.
“If I were the organizer of this action, I would say that I am the organizer, but this is not so. I was just outlining my position,” Roizman told the court.
“I know what to do in the cell. Don’t worry about me…my duty is to not be afraid,” the Znak.com news website quoted Roizman as saying.
The former mayor has attended most of this year’s pro-Navalny protests in Yekaterinburg and has expressed his support for Navalny’s release on his Twitter account.
Roizman is facing three administrative charges in total over the protests — two for organizing protests on Jan. 31 and April 21 and another for participating in the April 21 protest. He was fined 20,000 rubles (around $270) in March for taking part in the January rallies.
Following Roizman’s sentencing Wednesday, the court proceeded with the hearing for his administrative charge for organizing the April 21 protest.