International

Russian protester flees country to avoid prison amid crackdown

A Russian protester who faces up to five years in prison for throwing a plastic bottle at police said on Thursday he fled the country amid an unrelenting crackdown on the opposition.

Aidar Gubaidulin, a 26-year-old programmer, was among more than a dozen people who were arrested following anti-government protests demanding fair elections this summer.

He fled the country this week after realising he could soon be given a lengthy jail term, his lawyer Maxim Pashkov said.

“This decision did not come easy to me but the events of the last few days left me no choice,” Mr. Gubaidulin said on Facebook.

“I’ve left the country and will not return anytime soon.”

Mr. Gubaidulin, who tossed an empty plastic bottle towards police at a July rally but did not hit anyone, was arrested and charged with mass unrest.

He was later released from pre-trial detention and eventually charged with threatening to use violence against police.

Mr. Pashkov said Mr. Gubaidulin decided to leave Russia after a court on Monday upheld the conviction of another demonstrator, Konstantin Kotov, who had been jailed for four years over peaceful protests.

“This affected him very much,” Mr. Pashkov said.

Source: thehindu.com

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