Russia Keeps Activist in Custody

Posted November 7th, 2012 at 11:20 am (UTC-5)
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A Russian Court has upheld a decision to keep in custody an opposition activist who says he was kidnapped in Ukraine and forced to confess to plotting a coup.

The Moscow City Court Wednesday rejected a complaint filed by Leonid Razvozzhayev's lawyers to cancel a lower court decision to keep him in pre-trial detention.

Razvozzhayev says the criminal case against him was a political act of “provocation.”

Razvozzhayev has said that he was abducted in late October by masked men in Kyiv, where he had been seeking asylum. He said he was taken across the Russian border and held in a building for several days, where he was tortured into confessing to plotting mass riots against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a related development, a separate Russian regional court has rejected an appeal of anti-Putin activist Taisiya Osipova, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for drug possession.

Osipova is the wife of Sergei Fomchenkov, a leader of the nationalist opposition party, Other Russia.

Police say they caught her during a sting operation and found drugs in her home. Supporters say she was framed.

The case has drawn international condemnation, and in January Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said her initial 10-year sentence was too harsh. In her August retrial, prosecutors asked her to serve four years, but the judge instead handed down an eight-year sentence.

Russian human rights groups and international observers have condemned a growing crackdown on opponents of President Putin.