Russian activist freed on bail

A Russian court has temporarily freed opposition leader Alexei Navalny on bail, but placed travel restrictions on him while he appeals a five-year jail sentence for theft. Navalny is a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin.

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Freed Russian opposition leader arrives in Moscow

Alexei Navalny is greeted by hundreds of supporters as he arrives in Moscow. Credit: REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

The Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny has returned to Moscow after his surprising release from prison following his conviction for embezzlement.

The blogger, who is a severe critic of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, was sentenced to five years imprisonment on Thursday, but then released because prosecutors said his jail time would infringe his right to stand in the Moscow Mayoral Elections.

"I realise that if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be standing here for the next five years" he told his supporters.

"You have destroyed a key privilege that the Kremlin has been trying to keep."

"That it is their alleged right to say to any person arrest him on the spot."

Alexei Navalny with his wife Yulia are greeted by crowds in Moscow. Credit: REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Alexei Navalny speaks to reporters in Moscow after he was released from jail. Credit: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Russian anti-corruption activist freed temporarily

A Russian court temporarily released opposition leader Alexei Navalny from custody on Friday, but placed him under travel restrictions while he awaits the outcome of an appeal against a five-year jail sentence.

Navalny was the first opposition leader to use social media to challenge the state. Credit: Reuters

Prosecutors unexpectedly asked for Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin's biggest critics, to be allowed to await the appeal decision at home in Moscow after his conviction on theft charges in the city of Kirov.

Thousands of opposition activists protested against the verdict yesterday, with dozens detained during the rallies.

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