Imprisonment of Top Critic Too Brazen for Even Putin to Get Away WithS

A day after he was sentenced to five years in jail, a judge ordered opposition leader Alexei Navalny to be released from police custody. Navalny, who is Russia's most prominent anti-corruption activist and one of Putin's harshest critics, was convicted of "embezzlement."

The verdict provoked disappointed responses from the ambassador from the U.S. as well as a spokesperson for the E.U., who both questioned Russia's legal system. After the conviction, Navalny's supporters protested in several Russian cities.

Now, Russian authorities are taking steps back from their initial harsh measures. A prosecutor in Kirov, which was where Navalny was convicted, petitioned the judge to release Navalny as he waits to appeal. This release could potentially allow Navalny to follow his plans to run for mayor of Moscow in September.

[image via AP]