MOSCOW, February 22 (RAPSI) – The Russian Supreme Court’s Presidium on Wednesday overturned a 2.5-year prison sentence given to activist Ildar Dadin for numerous violations of protest laws and ruled to release him, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.

The court held that criminal proceedings against Dadin should be dismissed because of the absence of elements of a crime in his actions. The activist has a right to rehabilitation, according to the court’s ruling.

Earlier, Deputy Prosecutor General Leonid Korzhinek asked the court to reverse guilty verdict, drop criminal proceedings against Dadin and recognize his right to rehabilitation.

Dadin is the first person convicted under the Criminal Code’s Article on repeated violations committed during rallies.

On February 10, Russia’s Constitutional Court held that Dadin’s case must be reviewed. However, the contested Article of Russia’s Criminal Code was declared not contradictory to the Constitution.

Dadin was convicted and sentenced on December 7, 2015. Initially he received a 3-year prison term. The Moscow City Court later reduced the sentence to 2.5 years.

According to case papers, Dadin was arrested five times during rallies held between August 2014 and January 2015. Administrative proceedings were instituted against Dadin in all cases and he was fined. A criminal case was opened against him for participating in four meetings.

Dadin’s wife Anastasia Zotova wrote on Facebook in early November that her husband had been beaten and received murder threats when transferred to a penal colony in Karelia. The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) launched a probe into the allegations. Later, the FSIN announced that independent medical commission from a local hospital had not found injuries on Dadin’s body.

On November 24, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) during a plenary session expressed concern over the welfare of Dadin and called on Russia to immediately release him. MEPs insisted on a thorough and transparent independent investigation into the situation with Dadin who had complained on a number of occasions of prison conditions and torture.

In early January, Zotova wrote on Facebook that Dadin was transferred from a prison in Karelia to Altai.

Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, said on Twitter that he welcomes the ruling of Russia's Supreme Court.

Spokesman of Russian President Dmitry Peskov told journalists that "this is a decision by the Supreme Court and it is necessary to respect any court rulings, all the more so, judgements by the Supreme Court."