Russian court jails veteran rights activist

MOSCOW (AP) — A court in Moscow has sentenced a 77-year old human rights activist to 25 days in jail for calling for an unauthorized protest, a ruling that has drawn strong criticism from campaigners.

Charges against Lev Ponomarev, a highly respected veteran rights activist, stemmed from a Facebook post in which he called for a protest in October in support of several teenagers accused of extremism in charges widely described as trumped up.

Ponomarev was briefly detained when he attended October's rally outside Moscow headquarters of the main domestic security agency (FSB). On Tuesday, Moscow's Tverskoy Court handed him a 25-day sentence.

Amnesty International said that the sentence reflected Russian authorities' "contempt for human rights" and called for Ponomarev's immediate release.

The presidential human rights council also criticized the verdict.