MOSCOW – The Russian parliament has voted to sanction an arrest in absentia of the sole lawmaker who voted against the annexation of Crimea last year.
The State Duma voted Friday to let law enforcement officials arrest Ilya Ponomarev, who is suspected of embezzlement related to his work for a state-funded technological foundation.
Ponomarev, one of the leaders behind the 2011-2012 anti-government protests, will lose his seat if a court finds him guilty.
The politician, who is currently in the United States, says the motion is a politically motivated attempt to kick him out of parliament.
The Russian parliament has a history of expelling opposition lawmakers. The Duma in 2012 kicked out Gennady Gudkov, who helped stage the 2011-2012 protests, and removed his immunity from prosecution.