Brother of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny freed after 3.5 years
NARYSHKINO - Agence France-Presse
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, left, hugs his brother Oleg Navalny, center, after Oleg was released for the prison as Oleg Navalny's wife Viktoria smiles in Naryshkino, Orel region, 380 kilometers (237 miles) south of Moscow, Russia, Friday, June 29, 2018. AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov
Around 50 supporters and journalists had gathered outside the prison for the release.
The younger Navalny said he was looking forward to going home and eating shashlik, or kebab.
The opposition politician received a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence while his brother was jailed for the same amount of time in a move activists compared to hostage taking.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled the convictions were "arbitrary and unreasonable" and ordered Russia to pay the pair 83,000 euros ($98,000) in damages and costs.
The older Navalny brother, a constant critic of President Vladimir Putin, has served repeated short jail sentences in connection to his political activities.
He most recently served a 30-day sentence for organising an unsanctioned protest against Putin’s inauguration for a fourth Kremlin term, and was freed the day the World Cup started in Russia this month.
The 42-year-old built up a network of activists around the country with a view to running against Putin in the March polls, but was barred from standing because of his criminal record.
In 2013, the charismatic Yale-educated lawyer stood for Moscow mayor with a Western-style campaign and a message of snuffing out corruption, coming second against a Kremlin-backed incumbent.