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Opposition Leader Held for Protest Attempt

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM) promotes cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and free speech.




Russian opposition leader Sergey Udaltsov has been in detention in Moscow since 4 December 2011, solely for attempting to lead peaceful protests against alleged election fraud. Amnesty International considers Mr Udaltsov, leader of the political movement, Left Front, a prisoner of conscience, who should not be detained at all. He is in need of medical treatment and should be released without delay, the organisation demands.

Mr Udaltsov, aged 34, is currently held in a detention centre in Moscow. He is being denied adequate medical treatment that he requires following several hunger strikes while in detention over the past weeks. He has problems with his kidneys and reportedly lost consciousness a few times while in detention. A doctor has told his lawyer that he believes Mr Udaltsov needs hospital treatment, Amnesty International reports.

On 4 December 2011, the day of parliamentary elections in Russia, Mr Udaltsov was detained outside a metro station in Moscow by plain-clothed officers and sentenced to five days administrative arrest for allegedly refusing to obey police orders. A friend with him at the time told the court that the police report named a different location as the place of detention, and the officers did not identify themselves as police.

On 7 December 2011, Mr Udaltsov was transferred to a hospital. The administrative arrest warrant expired on 9 December 2011, and he tried to leave hospital to go to a demonstration, but police forced him to stay in hospital, possibly to ensure he could not attend. On 10 December 2011, a court sentenced him to 15 days administrative arrest for allegedly having absconded from detention following an arrest on 12 October 2011.

On 11 December 2011, Mr Udaltsov was returned to hospital. Next morning, police reportedly put pressure on his doctors, forcing them to release him and had him transferred back to the detention centre. Amnesty International urges the authorities to release Mr Udaltsov immediately and to give him access to necessary medical care. The organisation calls on the authorities to stop the harassment and persecution of peaceful protesters.



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