MOSCOW, February 17 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court has upheld extension of detention of the Moscow Aviation Institute student Andrey Barshay, who had allegedly given a National Guard officer a poke in the back during an unauthorized summer rally on July 27, 2019, the court press-service informs RAPSI on Monday.

Earlier, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow has extended Barshay’s detention until February 27, the appeals instance upheld this decision.

The Meshchansky District Court of Moscow is to begin hearings of the case of the student on merits.

Barshay stands charged with using force against a representative of authority.

The student pleads not guilty, denies involvement in the crime he is accused of, and claims that his detention is related to the escape of one more defendant in the 27 July riots case Aidar Gubaidillin.

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 activists have been already convicted and sentenced. Prosecution of five defendants has been dropped.