MOSCOW, January 31 (RAPSI) - A 4-year jail sentence given to activist Konstantin Kotov for repeated violations of a rally holding order has been appealed in cassation, his lawyer Maria Eismont has told RAPSI.

According to the attorney, Kotov should be released as soon as possible.

Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court convicted and sentenced Kotov in September. A month later, the Moscow City Court upheld the verdict.

According to investigators, the man, who was repeatedly brought to administrative liability for breaking an order of public events in the last 180 days, recently took part in an unauthorized protest action ignoring police demands to stop illegal actions. Investigative authorities claimed that his actions had an intentional nature.

Kotov pleaded not guilty. His defense insisted that there were no elements of a crime in his actions.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.