One month after being sent to jail for trespassing over laws governing public assembly, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was rearrested upon release and returned to a Moscow detention center.
Mr. Navalny was jailed in August for 30 days on charges related to his organizing a boycott of presidential elections earlier this year.
Immediately following his release on Monday, Navalny was again taken into custody again for his role in orchestrating a September demonstration against the Russian government weighing changes to retirement eligibility age.
Charged with repeat violations to Russian protest laws, Navalny appeared in court to dispute the charge, telling prosecutors his imprisonment precluded access to the outside world.
“I had no means of communication, no internet. . . . I was completely isolated,” Navalny told the court.
Despite his claim of innocence, Navalny was remanded and sent to an additional 20 days imprisonment.
Both Navalny and his attorney, Lyubov Sobol, claim the allegations are entirely political in nature.
A lawyer, anti-corruption activist and blogger, Navalny has been a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, often alleging widespread corruption in Russia’s government.
Navalny had been jailed in May after forming protests surrounding Putin’s inauguration galas. He was then charged with ignoring protest rules and defying police.
Capitalizing on growing public resistance to government pension reform, Navalny is said to have organized demonstrations for a Sept. 9 anti-pension reform rally in Moscow where more 800 people were arrested.
A reform effort which inspired thousands to protest nationwide, the measure aiming to raise the retirement age under consideration in the Federal Assembly is backed by Mr. Putin.
Russia sets aside ₽3.4 trillion ($51 billion) for pensions in its annual budget.
Under a 1932 law, Russian women are able to retire at 55, men at 60. The reform measure seeks to raise the retirement age to 60 for women and 65 for men.
[Reuters] [Moscow Times] [Photo courtesy AP via IndiaTV]