Moscow court sends 7 to prison for anti-Putin protest, suspends sentence for 8th defendant

The Associated Press

Defendants stand behind bars in a cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, where hearings started against opposition activists detained on May 6, 2012 during a rally at Bolotnaya Square. A Moscow judge on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, convicted eight anti-government protesters of rioting during a 2012 protest against Vladimir Putin, following a trial seen as part of the Kremlin's efforts to stifle dissent. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

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By LAURA MILLS, Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court has handed down prison sentences of up to four years for seven people who took part in a 2012 protest against Vladimir Putin. An eighth defendant received a suspended sentence.

Hundreds of their supporters gathered outside the courthouse to condemn the trial and the Kremlin's crackdown on opposition. Police detained more than 100 of them, accusing them of violating public order.

The defendants were among 28 people rounded up after the May 6, 2012, protest on the eve of Putin's inauguration for a third presidential term. The rally turned violent after police restricted access to Bolotnaya Square, across the river from the Kremlin, where the protesters had planned to gather.

The eight defendants were found guilty last week but sentencing was postponed until Monday.

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