Russian police detain dozen at political prisoner rally

Police detained around a dozen protesters near Moscow's Red Square on Sunday as they called for the release of political activists against President Vladimir Putin, an AFP photographer reported.

Around 40 opposition activists held up placards with the slogan "Freedom to Political Prisoners" calling for the release of detainees who took part in a large anti-Putin rally in May 2012 that ended in violent clashes with police.

Police detained around a dozen people for breaching rules on lone pickets, which do not have to be sanctioned by the authorities as long as they do not amount to a group protest.

So far 21 people have been charged over the last year's protest, staged a day before Putin's inauguration to a third term, that ended with the detentions of protest leaders and around 400 activists.

One of them has already been tried and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.