[QODLink]
Europe
Russian opposition aide arrested
Konstantin Lebedev charged with plotting mass anti-government riots and could face a 10-year jail term.
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2012 20:47
Sergei Udaltsov, the Left Front leader, has been told he cannot leave Moscow during the investigation [AFP]

A Russian opposition leader's assistant is facing criminal charges by an investigative agency.

The Investigative Committee has said in a statement that Left Front member Konstantin Lebedev was charged with plotting mass riots and could face a jail term of up to 10 years.

Investigators said the 33-year-old Lebedev, who has been in custody since Wednesday, has denied the charges and refuses to give evidence.

A court sanctioned his arrest on Thursday.

On Wednesday, officials interrogated Lebedev's boss, Sergei Udaltsov, who is also a suspect, and searched his home before releasing him on the condition that he not leave Moscow.

Investigators are relying on hidden camera footage aired earlier this month by a Kremlin-friendly TV channel.

The documentary claimed that Udaltsov met officials from the neighbouring nation of Georgia to raise money, partly from disgraced banker Andrei Borodin, to overthrow Putin's government by sending communists and neo-fascists to seize the Kremlin as well as several Russian cities.

Mass riots alleged

Investigators said Udaltsov, Lebedev and another leftist activist who remained at large, Leonid Razvozhayev, are suspected of planning to stage mass riots involving the use of firearms, ransacking and arson in Moscow, Kaliningrad, Vladivostok and other cities.

Udaltsov, a shaven-headed communist firebrand who wore a Joseph Stalin T-shirt to his own wedding, has called the documentary "filth'' and said the charges are revenge for his political activity.

He insisted that the TV footage, in which the figure purported to be him is nearly always out of focus, was doctored.

Both Udaltsov and Givi Targamadze, the senior Georgian lawmaker that Russian officials say is behind the plot, deny ever meeting each other.

"I think that one thing is really evident: the goal to arrest Udaltsov was set, and in order to achieve it this film or programme was fabricated."

Russian investigators said they had carefully studied the footage and concluded it was genuine.

311

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Featured
As nuclear age approaches eighth decade, visitors flock to historic bomb craters at New Mexico test sites.
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
join our mailing list