MOSCOW, March 23 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court on Monday postoponed an appeal against sentence given to activist Nikita Chirtsov for using force against a police officer during an unauthorized rally held in Moscow on July 27 because of the coronavirus infection, RAPSI was told in the court’s press service.

The appeal hearing is expected to be held on April 13.

In December, Chirtsov was convicted and sentenced to 1 year in jail. Investigators claimed that the man gave the policeman pokes in the chest and shoulder. The defendant pleaded not guilty.

After the protest action the defendant was fined 12,000 rubles ($185) for violating the order of a rally. Later, he fled to Minsk, Belarus, but was put on the wanted list.

He was arrested in Moscow in early September after he voluntary returned to Russia. In November, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court extended detention of Chirtsov until April 30.

Unauthorized rallies in support of candidates seeking to become lawmakers of the Moscow State Duma but refused registration by the Election Commission were 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 criminal cases were opened. Investigators believe that the protest action was held with the use of force against representatives of authority.

Courts’ operating limitations

On March 18, the Supreme Court’s Presidium ordered limitation of the court’s work and prohibition of visitors’ attendance from March 19 to April 10 because of the coronavirus spread.

According to the document, courts are to consider only urgent cases. Moreover, if technically possible, hearings are to be held through videoconference.