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Russia: police arrest protesters as court jails anti-Putin activists

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Russia: police arrest protesters as court jails anti-Putin activists

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Four anti-Putin demonstrators have been jailed in Moscow and face up to three and a half years behind bars after a rally in 2012.

They were found guilty of inciting mass protests during a demonstration on the eve of Putin’s inauguration for a third term in office.

Punk band Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova joined protesters outside the court after the sentences were handed down.

She said the prison terms were harsh.

“For the same kind of civil cases, people are usually fined 500 roubles or are detained for 48 hours if they have already committed similar civil offences,” said Tolokonnikova. “But these guys were given three and a half years for nothing.”

Some supporters of the jailed activists held a banner that read, “Russia is not a prison,” before police grabbed the poster and made several arrests, apparently dragging detainees into a police van.

Other supporters chanted “freedom!” as a police van drove the jailed protesters away from the courthouse.