Two of Russia's most prominent opposition leaders, Alexei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov, were jailed for 15 days on Wednesday for their role in protests against President Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin.
Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger, announced his sentence for disobeying police on Twitter. Leftist leader Udaltsov's sentence for the same offence in a separate Moscow court was confirmed by his wife Anastasia.
Both were sentenced over a peaceful protest on Tuesday when they walked along the streets of Moscow with dozens of their supporters but had no permission to stage a rally.
They have also been summoned as witnesses in a criminal investigation into a rally on Sunday at which 29 police were hurt in clashes with demonstrators.
Asked about the possibility that they could soon face tougher sentences, Anastasia Udaltsova said by telephone: "It's too early to speak about harsher consequences as both Navalny and Udaltsov are summoned as witnesses."
Both men are 35 and have repeatedly been detained during months of protests. They also served similar jail terms at the start of the demonstrations against Putin last December.
Several hundred people have been detained briefly in the past few days as Putin tried to stifle dissent at the start of his third presidential term, including more than 400 after the clashes with police at Sunday's rally.
Udaltsov said through a lawyer on Wednesday that he had started a hunger strike in protest at his treatment.
Putin won a presidential election on March 4 with nearly 64 percent of the vote. Navalny and Udaltsov say his victory was achieved with the help of electoral fraud. The president denies the accusations.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 10 Mayıs 2012, 11:13