Moscow – A Russian actor sentenced to 3-1/2 years in prison for allegedly assaulting a police officer has been released from custody following a massive outcry.

Pavel Ustinov, 24, was charged on Sept. 16 with assaulting a police officer at an opposition rally in July. He pleaded not guilty, claiming he was simply waiting for a friend outside the metro.

Video from the scene showed Ustinov being tackled by police officers as he looked at his phone on the sidelines of the rally. A Moscow court refused to consider these videos as evidence.

The arrest of Ustinov, a little-known actor, was widely seen especially among Russia’s creative community as a means of intimidating the opposition.

He was released Friday pending an appeal on Sept. 26. He cannot leave Moscow during his bail.

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