Russian oppn leader put under house arrest

Prominent Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, charged with plotting mass disorder in protests last year, was placed under house arrest by a Moscow court on Saturday.

The leftist was among several opposition figures charged with riots and violence against police during a protest against President Vladimir Putin last May on the eve of his inauguration for a third presidential term. The Federal Investigative Committee, which answers only to Putin, had barred Udaltsov from travelling freely but said on Friday that he was not complying with that.

The court put Udaltsov under house arrest until April 6.

The shaven-headed Udaltsov has been repeatedly detained during opposition protests, in what his supporters say is a tactic intended to hamper his activism. On Thursday, another opposition activist was arrested over the May protests. That brought to 12 the total number of people detained and awaiting trial. One person has already been convicted.

In another case, a court on Friday found former military intelligence officer Vladimir Kvachkov guilty of masterminding an armed coup and sentenced him to 13 years in prison.

Prosecutors had demanded 14 years in a high security prison for Kvachkov, a retired colonel from the Chief Intelligence Directorate, the Russian Armed Forces’ spy service.

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