Russian opposition leader Navalny and his 2 associates fined

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MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court has ordered opposition leader Alexei Navalny and two of his associates to pay fines for staging an unauthorized rally.

The court ruled Thursday that Navalny and his associates Leonid Volkov and Nikolai Lyaskin violated the law and should pay fines ranging from 250,000 to 300,000 rubles ($4,140-$4,960). Navalny has rejected the accusations, arguing that Moscow's event last month in which his supporters distributed leaflets was a lawful action that didn't require any official authorization.

Navalny, Russia's most popular opposition leader, has declared his intention to run for president in the March 2018 presidential election.

Navalny, who rose to prominence with his investigations of official corruption, has organized two massive nationwide protests earlier this year, the largest in years. He served a 25-day sentence for staging June's protest.

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