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Russian opposition leader briefly detained

President Putin's top critic Aleksei Navalny taken away in a police van before being freed.

Last Modified: 25 Aug 2013 19:21
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Navalny rose to fame during anti-Putin rallies that broke out in Moscow in the winter of 2011 [AP]

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, a candidate in next month's mayoral race for Moscow, was briefly detained by the police after a campaign rally.

A spokesperson of Navalny tweeted that the opposition figure was detained after a rally in the Sokolniki neighbourhood of Moscow. Video of his detention was also posted on YouTube.

According to Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti,a Moscow police representative told that Navalny was "invited to a police department for a conversation in connection with violations" made during the rally he held for his supporters.

Navalny, a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, later said on Twitter that he was taken to northeastern Moscow in a police van and released after a police officer told him that “nobody detained him.”

On Friday, the Moscow electoral commission opted not to disqualify Navalny from the September 8 race, instead issuing him with a verbal warning after police confiscated allegedly illegal campaign materials.

Navalny was sentenced to five years in prison last month after being convicted of embezzlement but was later released pending an appeal. Navalny has rejected his conviction as politically motivated.

Earlier this month, Russian prosecutors accused Navalny of breaking the law by receiving donations from foreign nationals, after allegations made by the leader of the Kremlin-friendly nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

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