On September 3, Zamoskvoretsky Magistrate Court in Moscow found Russian opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov guilty of "disobeying police" during a pro-democracy rally on July 31. The guilty verdict was pronounced despite the VIDEO () presented as evidence that Mr. Nemtsov was arrested while peacefully proceeding to the rally, and could not possibly "disobey" anything.
Instead of the customary prison sentence of up to 15 days, the opposition leader was ordered to pay a 500 Ruble ($16) fine. The official reason for the light setnence was that he has three under-age children. Unofficially experts believe Mr. Nemtsov is too well-known internationally to be put in jail.
Boris Nemtsov refuses to admit the charge and will be appealing the guilty verdict.
Last week, two opposition activists, Lev Ponomaryov, 68, and Mikhail Shneider, 62, were given 3-day prison sentences for the same charge of "disobedience" during an opposition rally.
Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr.
Member, Federal Political Council
Russian United Democratic Movement "SOLIDARITY"