07/19/2013, 00.00
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Navalny free on bail to run in Moscow mayoralty race

A court in Kirov releases him but imposes travel restrictions. For some, the judges wanted to reduce tensions caused by the protests of his supporters.

Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Alexei Navalny, the anti-Putin blogger, was released on bail today. After he was sentenced to five years in prison yesterday for fraud and embezzlement, a court in Kirov decided to release him today pending his appeal. If he should remain at liberty, Navalny could still run in Moscow's municipal elections, scheduled for 8 September.

Since he did not violate his house arrest order during the trial, the court this morning decided to grant him bail. Although he has travel restrictions to stay in Moscow, the blogger is now free.

For some analysts, this could be an attempt by officials to reduce public tensions after his conviction.

Yesterday, thousands of people in Moscow, St Petersburg and other Russian cities protested against the verdict, considered by many-inside and outside Russia-partly politically motivated.

Navalny, 37, is the moral leader of Russia's opposition movement. In the past year, he has led protests in Moscow against Putin and the government.


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