Two Russians Get Jail Terms For Attacking Police At Navalny Rally

MOSCOW -- A court in Moscow has sentenced a man and a woman to two years in prison each for attacking police during an unsanctioned rally in January to support jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny.

The Telegram channel of Moscow courts announced the sentencing of Aleksandr Glushkov and Olga Bendas by the Tver district court late on June 21.

OVD-Info, a group that monitors arrests and convictions of activists, said that Glushkov pleaded guilty, while Bendas rejected the charge and refused to make a deal with investigators.

Investigators said that Bendas hit a police officer several times and took the baton that the officer had dropped, while Glushkov punched another police officer several times during the unsanctioned rally on January 23 on Moscow’s central Pushkin square.

Several people have been handed prison terms or suspended sentences in recent weeks for attacking police during the nationwide demonstrations held in January against Navalny's arrest.

Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport on January 17 upon his arrival from Germany, where he was recovering from a poison attack by what several European laboratories concluded was a military-grade chemical nerve agent in Siberia in August.

Navalny has insisted that his poisoning was ordered directly by President Vladimir Putin, which the Kremlin has denied.

In February, a Moscow court ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case that is widely considered as being politically motivated. Navalny's 3 1/2 year suspended sentence from the case was converted to a jail term, though the court said he will serve 2 1/2 years in prison given time he had been held in detention.

More than 10,000 supporters of Navalny were detained across Russia during and after the January rallies. Many of the detained men and women were either fined or handed several-day jail terms. At least 90 were charged with criminal misdeeds and several have been fired by their employers.

With reporting by OVD-Info