MOSCOW, October 9 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court on Wednesday reduced prison sentence of Ivan Podkopayev, who sprayed a chemical agent at the faces of police and Federal National Guard Troops Service (Rosguard) officers during an unauthorized rally on July 27, from 3 to 2 years, a RAPSI correspondent reported from the courtroom.

The court softened the sentence as Podkopayev had reimbursed damages paying two police officers 15,000 rubles ($230) each and transferred 10,000 rubles to a charity fund.

On September 3, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court sentenced Podkopayev to 3 years in prison for use of force against a representative of authority. On September 25, the court upheld his detention.

At the rally, the police reported, the defendant was carrying a knife, a pepper spray, a hammer, and a gas mask; Podkopayev insisted the items were on him for his professional and personal needs, and the knife could not be classified as a weapon.

Protest actions began in Moscow in mid-July after election commissions denied registration of certain opposition members as candidates for the Moscow City Duma elections reasoning that documents submitted by them contained numerous violations.

The first unauthorized rally took place hear the Moscow City Election Commission’s building on July 14 and looked like a provocation, according to law experts.

Unauthorized rallies in support of candidates seeking to become lawmakers of the Moscow State Duma but refused registration by the Election Commission were also held on July 27 and August 3 in central Moscow. Over 1,000 people were arrested for various violations as a result.

Following the 27 July rally, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case over mass riots. Investigators believe that the protest action was held with the use of force against representatives of authority.

Several well-known opposition figures including Alexey Navalny, Dmitry Gudkov, Ilya Yashin were arrested and put in detention for alleged organization of an unauthorized rally.

On August 10, an authorized rally in support of unregistered election candidates took place in Moscow and gathered as many as 25,000 participants, according to the police statistics.