Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny has been temporarily released from custody, one day after he was handed a five-year prison sentence for embezzlement.
A vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, Navalny has been freed on bail by a court in the city of Kirov while he waits for the outcome of his appeal.
Some analysts believe it could be a rare sign of the Russian government bowing to its critics. Navalny’s trial and sentence were criticised by the EU and the US.
His conviction sparked protests in Moscow and other Russian cities and led to clashes with police.
Before being sentenced, Navalny had said he planned to be a candidate for Mayor of Moscow. An independent poll in June suggested Navalny had eight percent support in the mayoral race.
Navalny spearheaded mass protests against Vladimir Putin in 2011.