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Seven Russian protesters given prison sentences

Feb. 24, 2014 at 5:22 PM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- More than 200 people, two members of Pussy Riot among them, were detained by Russian police Monday for protesting outside a courthouse.

Police took 234 people into custody Monday for participating in an "unauthorized gathering" protesting the sentencing of eight men who spoke out against Russian President Vladimir Putin's return to power in 2012.

More than 200 protesters and journalists were held Friday in a similar incident, Amnesty International said. Most of those arrested over the two days of protesting face an $800 fine and some were still being held by police, the group said.

A Moscow court sentenced seven opposition activists Monday to up to four years in prison and an eighth to probation, officials said. The eight Russians were convicted Friday on charges of rioting and assaulting police officers after a protest in 2012, RIA Novosti reported.

Charges stemmed from a May 2012 demonstration in Moscow's Bolotnaya Square during which protesters clashed with police. The rally was one of several large-scale protests organized against Russian President Vladimir Putin's return to power.

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