Russia frees opposition blogger after 15 days in jail
MOSCOW - Agence France- Presse
Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny speaks with journalists as he leaves a police station on the day of his discharge in Moscow, December 21, 2011. REUTERSRussia on Wednesday freed anti-Kremlin blogger Alexei Navalny and other opposition activists after they served 15-day jail terms for taking part in an unsanctioned rally protesting election results, Navalny, who has become a figurehead for the opposition through his blog that exposes corruption at state companies, was freed from a police station in Moscow, the Solidarnost (Solidarity) opposition movement said.
Also freed was opposition leader Ilya Yashin who was arrested at the same time as Navalny, during the first protest against December 4's parliamentary elections that handed victory to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia ruling party.
Another 10 activists who took part in the protest were also freed, Solidarnost added.
"We were jailed in one country and freed in another," Navalny said, referring to the protest wave that has swept Russia and shaken the Kremlin over the last fortnight since his detention, quoted by Solidarnost.
"Right now the party of swindlers and thieves is nominating for president its chief swindler and thief," he added, referring to Putin's intention to stand for the presidency in 2012 polls.
Navalny first coined the phrase "swindlers and thieves" to describe United Russia and the slogan has since been taken up by the entire opposition.