Russia’s rubber-stamp courts play starring role in Kremlin ...

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Russia’s rubber-stamp courts play starring role in Kremlin crackdown

The rush to prosecute supporters of Alexei Navalny highlights problems in the country’s judicial system

Max Seddon

As editor of news website Mediazona, Sergei Smirnov built a reputation covering grotesque tales from Russia’s judicial system.

So when police arrested him this month as he was out for a walk with his young son and then charged him with “inciting illegal [anti-government] demonstrations” by retweeting a joke about himself, the editor was hardly surprised.

“When you write about this stuff, sooner or later it can happen to you,” Smirnov said after his release from a 15-day sentence in a detention centre outside Moscow on Thursday. “Obviously we live in a country where you unfortunately have to be ready.”..

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