In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept 3, 2019, Sergei Abanichev holds a banner with portrait of him reading

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian man suddenly released from prison after rioting charges were dropped says investigators pressured him to confess.

Sergei Abanichev spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday in his first interview after his release from jail.

He was one of five people who were released after charges against them were dropped in a government's U-turn in the ongoing crackdown on anti-Kremlin protesters.

Abanichev told AP the only specific piece of evidence he was presented was a video showing what the investigators said was him hurling a beer can at the police. Abanichev says it was an empty paper cup he threw away during the commotion.

Analysts have suggested that the sweeping criminal investigation against a random group of protesters was meant to scare off people from attending opposition rallies.

Sergei Abanichev, right, who was charged with rioting connected to an anti-government protest gives his mother a hug upon his release in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Abanichev is one of five people charged with rioting related to this summer's anti-government protest who had the charges against them abruptly dropped. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept 3, 2019, Sergei Abanichev, right, his mother Alisa, center, and father Vyacheslav, speaks with media upon his release in Moscow, Russia. Abanichev is one of five people charged with rioting related to this summer's anti-government protest who had the charges against them abruptly dropped. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept 3, 2019, Alisa Abanicheva, right, mother of Sergei Abanichev, shows a portrait of her son to a police officer before Abanichev's release in Moscow, Russia. Abanichev is one of five people charged with rioting related to this summer's anti-government protest who had the charges against them abruptly dropped. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept 3, 2019, Sergei Abanichev, center, walks out of the police station upon his release in Moscow, Russia. Abanichev is one of five people charged with rioting related to this summer's anti-government protest who had the charges against them abruptly dropped. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept 3, 2019, Sergei Abanichev, right, speaks to the Associated Press in his first interview upon his release at his home in Moscow, Russia. Abanichev is one of five people charged with rioting related to this summer's anti-government protest who had the charges against them abruptly dropped. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Sept 3, 2019, Sergei Abanichev, center, his mother Alisa, left, and father Vyacheslav hold a poster saying
Sergei Abanichev, center, walks out of the police station upon his release in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Abanichev is one of five people charged with rioting related to this summer's anti-government protest who had the charges against them abruptly dropped. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)
Sergei Abanichev who was charged with rioting connected to an anti-government protest, speaks to the Associated Press upon his release in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Abanichev is one of five people charged with rioting related to this summer's anti-government protest who had the charges against them abruptly dropped. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)