Moscow: Several Russian opposition leaders were detained on Saturday while protesting what they say was the torture of a fellow activist.
Investigators earlier this week said that opposition Leonid Razvozzhayev had turned himself in and confessed to plotting riots. But days later, the activist disavowed his confession and filed a complaint over what he said was his abduction from Ukraine. Rights activists who visited him in jail say he had been tortured into confessing.
Hundreds of people gathered in central Moscow this afternoon to protest an increasingly relentless crackdown on the opposition in Russia as well as Razvozzhayev`s treatment.
Some of them including opposition leaders Alexei Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov and Ilya Yashin held one-man pickets outside the Russian former intelligence and former KGB headquarters, protesting "torture and repression."
Police detained three men as well as several other activists. No charges had yet been brought against them.
Elsewhere in Moscow, Brooklyn Nets owner and former Russian presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov announced that he`s leaving business to focus full-time on politics, returning to the political arena after remaining silent through a five-month Kremlin crackdown on the opposition.
Prokhorov told reporters after the conference that he wants to lead "a third power" in the country, competing both with the Kremlin and the opposition.
The 47-year-old Prokhorov, who is believed to be worth about USD 13 billion, finished third in Russia`s presidential election in March amid speculation that his candidacy was orchestrated by the Kremlin. Though he denied the claim, he was nowhere to be seen as the government launched a crackdown on the opposition this spring, arresting activists and introducing new harsh legislation.
Prokhorov appeared today at the first conference of the party he set up several months ago, announcing that he would put his money in a trust fund and let his partners at the investment vehicle Onexim run the shop.