Alexei Navalny released from prison after leading anti-Putin rally

May 6 (UPI) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released from prison early Sunday morning after being arrested during a protest against President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny wrote on Twitter that was released at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday after police charged him with organization of a rally and resistance of the police in connection with demonstrations ahead of Putin’s inauguration.

“It appears the order ‘don’t jail until the inauguration’ came through,” he wrote.

Navalny, 41, was one of more than 1,600 people that police detained during the protests at Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow on Saturday.

The arrest stemmed from the fact that Russian officials, who require applications be filed and approved for rallies, did not issue a permit to Navalny for the protest in Pushkinskaya Square. Navalny’s campaign was offered another location away from the city center but did not use it.

Navalny was also detained in January after joining a rally calling for a boycott of the presidential election.

He had planned to challenge Putin in the March 18 election, but Russia’s Central Election Committee said he was not eligible to run for public office until at least 2028 because of a fraud conviction and the Supreme Court denied his appeal against the ruling in December.

Putin was overwhelmingly reelected for a fourth six-year term, winning 73.9 percent of vote.

If Putin, 65, serves his full term until 2024, he will be the first Kremlin leader to be in power two decades since Joseph Stalin.

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