Authorities in Russia are attempting to strip parental rights from a couple who took their one-year-old baby to a protest.
- Police detain hundreds of protesters in Moscow
- Russians protest ban on opposition election candidates
Dmitry Prokazov and his wife Olga are accused of endangering the baby's life by "handing him over... to a third person" while at an unsanctioned opposition protest in Moscow, reports the BBC.
Moscow City's prosecutor's office has asked a court to remove the couple's rights as parents, according to a statement released by the office.
"During the rally the parents handed their young child, who was in a helpless state due to his age, to a third person thus endangering the boy's health and life," the office said, according to an English translation of the statement quoted by the BBC.
"And so by exploiting the child, the parents abused their parental rights to the detriment of their son's interests."
The statement said other parents who had brought young children to the protests were also being investigated.
The parents told the BBC they had been out walking, with no plans to participate in the demonstration, when they ran into the protest.
They then saw a friend among those protesting and decided to join in.
"We knew that a rally for honest elections was being planned, and we were in solidarity with this...and so we weren't afraid," Mr Prokazov said.
According to the Independent newspaper, their friend, Sergey Fomin, has a connection to an opposition politician Lyubov Sobol, who was barred from running in September Moscow city elections and later imprisoned.
The parents then agreed to leave the protest with Fomin and at some point handed their baby to him.
"It didn't even occur to me that I was doing something remotely wrong," said Mr Prokazov
But investigators accuse Prokazov of giving Fomin the child so he could easily slip through a ring of police around the protesters.
Pro-Kremlin bloggers have labelled Fomin a ring-leader of the protests and he has since gone into hiding, reports the Independent.
The protests on 27 July and 3 August came after opposition candidates were controversially banned from running in elections planned for September. Authorities have claimed they were barred because the signatures required for their applications were invalid, but protesters say the bans are politically motivated.
More than 1500 people were arrested at the protests.