Alexei Navalny: Putin critic's wife Yulia Navalnaya fined for breaking protest rules

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The wife of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been ordered to pay a fine of 20,000 roubles (£192.33) after attending a protest demanding her husband's release from prison.

Yulia Navalnaya's punishment comes after tens of thousands of people demonstrated in dozens of Russian cities on Sunday, in the latest round of anti-Putin protests, chanting slogans against the Russian leader and calling for the release of Mr Navalny.

More than 5,400 people were detained, including Ms Navalnaya, who joined the protest in Moscow and was charged with participating in an unauthorised rally.

A court on Monday ordered her to pay a fine, her lawyer Svetlana Davydova told the Interfax news agency.

Ms Davydova said the defence plans to appeal the ruling.

Despite unprecedented security measures taken by authorities ahead of the rally, the police used brute force and stun guns against peaceful protesters.

The Kremlin's fiercest critic, 44-year-old Mr Navalny was arrested on 17 January upon his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a novichok-induced coma that he blames on the Kremlin.

But Russian authorities have rejected the accusations.

He faces a prison term for alleged probation violations from a 2014 money-laundering conviction, which has been widely seen as politically motivated.

OVD-Info, a legal aid group that monitors arrests at protests, said the number of people detained yesterday was the most in its nine-year history of keeping records in the Putin era.