The Moscow City Court on Wednesday reduced activist Ivan Podkopaev’s sentence, given for allegedly using pepper spray against police during a rally, from three to two years of imprisonment.

The defendant is alleged to have sprayed pepper spray against the police in an unauthorised rally on July 27 in Moscow.

Speaking outside the court, Podkopaev’s lawyer Alexei Chernyshev said that his client admits using pepper spray on police, but added that “he was forced to do so in order to prevent them from using inadequate violence on him.”

Several activists taking part in this summer’s Moscow protests have been given criminal convictions over the “mass unrest.”

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