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Russian actor arrested at rally released pending appeal

The Associated Press

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.

Actor Pavel Ustinov, who was earlier sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison for assaulting police at the July 27 rally, is shown on a TV screen as he listens to the decision of the court of cassation while in remand prison in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Ustinov has been released from pre-trial detention following a massive outcry and an appeal is scheduled for Sept. 26.

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.