Pavel Ustinov
© Pavel Ustinov
Pavel Ustinov during a court hearing.
Pavel Ustinov, an actor who was jailed for assaulting a policeman during a protest in Moscow, has been released on parole. His sentence, which he appealed, was slated as miscarriage of justice by many in Russia.

A Moscow city court on Tuesday ruled that Ustinov, 23, should be released from pre-trial detention on the condition that he does not leave the city until his appeal has been heard. The decision was taken at the request of the prosecution and supported by his defense team. The appeal itself will be deliberated on further by the court next week.

The young man was previously sentenced to three years and six months in jail for injuring an arresting police officer during an unsanctioned protest rally in early August. The ruling triggered a public outcry in Russia and some other nations, with many public figures calling it unjust. The court failed to review footage of Ustinov's arrest, which his numerous supporters insist proves his innocence.

Ustinov says that, contrary to what the prosecution alleges, he was not even part of the protest. He says he was randomly snatched by police during a crackdown on activists. His defense team wants the sentence overturned.

The prosecution claims he is guilty of the crime he was charged with, but believes the punishment is too harsh. That position is a U-turn from what the prosecution sought during Ustinov's initial trial, when they asked the court to sentence him to six years in prison.

The public campaign seeking justice for Ustinov brought together plenty of public figures, including some politicians in the pro-government camp. It's not unlike what happened with investigative journalist Ivan Golunov earlier this year.

Golunov was arrested in a drug trafficking case that was widely seen as fishy by the Russian public which rallied to support the man. The charges against him were dropped days later. The police officers involved in his arrest were suspended while a probe into their alleged misconduct gets under way.