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Former chess champion turned opposition leader Garry Kasparov was set Monday to face police questioning after he was detained at a protest during the Pussy Riot trial and accused of biting a policeman.
Along with dozens of other protesters, Kasparov was detained on Friday outside a Moscow court which handed a two-year prison sentence to three women members of punk band Pussy Riot who staged an anti-Vladimir Putin stunt in a cathedral in the Russian capital in February.
Police have accused the former chess champion of biting an officer on the hand as he was detained, which he denies.
Kasparov was released several hours later but was set to face police questioning at 0800 GMT Monday. He could face a criminal charge.
“On August 20, Monday they should question me on the issue of attacking a policeman and after that the Investigative Committee will decide whether to start a criminal probe against me,” Kasparov said in comments posted on his official website on Sunday.
Kasparov said he was detained as he was talking to reporters, adding there was video evidence clearly showing that he did not bite or attack anyone. “They just said: 'We have an order,'“ Kasparov said, referring to the officers who detained him. “For several seconds I was in a state of shock because it was so unexpected,” he said separately in comments on Echo of Moscow radio.
According to Russian law, assault on a police officer is punished by a fine of 200 000 rubles ($6 200) or a prison term of up to 5 years.
The questioning comes as the country's nascent opposition movement is seeking to stage new mass rallies this autumn. - AFP