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Moscow court sends 7 to prison for protest rally

•  International     updated  2014/02/24 15:10

A Russian court handed down prison sentences Monday of up to four years for seven people who took part in a 2012 protest against Vladimir Putin. An eighth defendant received a suspended sentence.

Hundreds of their supporters gathered outside the courthouse to condemn the trial and the Kremlin's crackdown on opposition. Police detained about 200 of them, accusing them of violating public order.

Among those detained were members of the punk band Pussy Riot who had spent nearly two years in prison as punishment for their own anti-Putin protest.

The defendants sentenced Monday were among 28 people rounded up after the May 6, 2012, protest on the eve of Putin's inauguration for a third presidential term. The rally turned violent after police restricted access to Bolotnaya Square, across the river from the Kremlin, where the protesters had permission to gather.

The eight defendants were found guilty last week, but sentencing was postponed until Monday. All have been in custody for nearly two years except for Anastasia Dukhanina, 20, who was under house arrest. She was given a suspended sentence.

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