‘We don’t want events like those in Paris here’: Putin on activist Ponomarev’s arrest

No one in Russia wants to see violent riots like the ones recently crippling Paris, Vladimir Putin said, commenting on the arrest of human rights activist Lev Ponomarev for his social media calls to stage unsanctioned protests.

The President said that it was hard for him to question the decisions of the trial and appeal courts, which found 77-year-old Ponomarev guilty of the violation and put him under administrative arrest.

“We don’t want to have events that resemble those in Paris when cobblestone pavements are torn up and everything is set on fire, and the country descends into a state of emergency,” he said.

However, Putin promised that he’ll ask Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to “look more closely” at the events surrounding Ponomarev’s detention.

Last week, Ponomarev was handed 25 days of administrative arrest by a Moscow court. In his blog, Ponomarev backed an unsanctioned action in support of young activists from two groups, who are accused of planning an armed coup in the country.

Human Rights Defender, Lev Ponomarev © Sputnik / Eugene Odinokov

Ponomarev’s detention was then reduced to 16 days. However, he still missed the funeral of his friend and prominent human rights defender Lyudmila Alekseeva, who died on Saturday at the age of 91.

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