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Russian court upholds 15-day sentence for prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny

  • Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny sits in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Navalny was detained earlier this month for 15 days for distributing leaflets for an anti-government march, which he will miss if he remains in prison. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny sits in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Navalny was detained earlier this month for 15 days for distributing leaflets for an anti-government march, which he will miss if he remains in prison. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, left, sits in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Navalny was detained earlier this month for 15 days for distributing leaflets for an anti-government march, which he will miss if he remains in prison. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, left, sits in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Navalny was detained earlier this month for 15 days for distributing leaflets for an anti-government march, which he will miss if he remains in prison. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, center, and his lawyer, left, stand in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Navalny was detained earlier this month for 15 days for distributing leaflets for an anti-government march, which he will miss if he remains in prison. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, center, and his lawyer, left, stand in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Navalny was detained earlier this month for 15 days for distributing leaflets for an anti-government march, which he will miss if he remains in prison. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

An appeals court in Moscow has upheld a 15-day sentence for prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The Moscow City Court ruled Friday that the Feb. 20 verdict by a district court, which sentenced Navalny to 15 days in custody, should stand. The court then found Navalny guilty of violating the law when he campaigned on the subway for an unauthorized "anti-crisis" march on March 1.

Navalny denied the accusations of breaking the law and argued they were intended to prevent him from organizing the demonstration amid a severe economic downturn in Russia caused by low oil prices and Western sanctions.

Navalny, the driving force behind the massive 2011-2012 anti-Putin protests in Moscow, has campaigned to organize anti-government protests in several Russian cities in March.