US State Department Urges Russian Authorities to Immediately Release Activist Ponomarev

MOSCOW, Dec 8: The US State Department called on the Russian authorities to immediately release human rights activist Lev Ponomarev, sentenced to 16 days in jail over the repeated violation of regulations on holding public actions.

“We call on #Russia to immediately release 77-year-old #humanrights defender Lev #Ponomarev, who was arrested and sentenced to 16 days in jail for sharing a social media post calling for peaceful protest,” the State Department wrote on Twitter.

Ponomarev was detained on October 28 during an unauthorized rally near the building of the Russian Federal Security Service in central Moscow. The activist was also charged with publishing a media post containing calls for holding an unauthorized rally.

The demonstration was held in support of two groups, accused of having organized extremist communities, something denied by those charged.

In July, Ponomarev was detained for holding a one-man protest in support of the members of one of these groups.

On Wednesday, the activist received 25 days in jail over the repeated violations of legislation on holding rallies. However, on Friday, a court slashed the jail time to 16 days after having considered a complaint by Ponomarev’s defense.

The Russian Presidential Human Rights Council and ombudswoman Tatiana Moskalkova have expressed their support for the activist.