Russia jails journalist Sergei Smirnov over Navalny protest

·1-min read
Russian journalist Smirnov attends a rally to demand authorities allow opposition candidates to run in a local election in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian journalist Sergei Smirnov said on Wednesday he had been jailed for 25 days in connection with a protest in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

A Moscow court said Smirnov, editor-in-chief of independent outlet Mediazona, was guilty of repeated violations of protest legislation, the journalist said on Twitter from inside the courtroom.

Police detained him last week on suspicion of having taken part in a rally on Jan. 23 in support of Navalny.

He was accused of organising the protest after he retweeted a humorous message related to the planned event, that showed its time and date, according to court documents shared by his lawyer.

Smirnov was sentenced a day after Navalny was told he would have to serve two years and eight months in jail in a separate case.

The decision to jail Navalny sparked protests in which more than 1,400 people were detained, primarily in Moscow, according to the OVD-Info monitoring group.

After Smirnov's sentencing on Wednesday, the Russian Journalists and Media Workers Union demanded his release, describing the court decision as "unlawful, absurd and shameful".

(Reporting by Anton Zverev; Writing by Polina Ivanova and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alison Williams and Giles Elgood)