One of Alexey Navalny’s closest associates, lawyer and activist Lubov Sobol, has been sentenced to a year and a half of restrictions over her role in coordinating unauthorized protests in support of the jailed opposition figure.
On Tuesday, Moscow’s Preobrazhensky Court imposed the conditions on Sobol for inciting members of the public to breach public health laws and turn out for large-scale demonstrations held in January this year. According to her lawyer, the ruling will require her to “not leave her home between 10pm and 6am, not attend mass events, not leave Moscow or the surrounding region, and to present herself to authorities three times each month” for a period of 18 months.
The case was opened after two weekends of successive protests saw tens of thousands take to the streets, across the country, to call for Navalny’s release. The campaigner had been arrested on returning to Moscow from Berlin, where he was recuperating from what he and his German doctors claim was a poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok. He is now serving time in a prison colony for breaching the terms of a suspended sentence for fraud, handed down over a scheme involving French cosmetics firm Yves Rocher.
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A number of Navalny’s associates have since faced charges over the mass events, which were legally banned under Covid-19 laws, including his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh and brother, Oleg.
Sobol previously worked for the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK), which Navalny founded in 2011. The organization, which had previously been branded a ‘foreign agent’ over links to overseas funding, was declared to be an ‘extremist group’ by a court in June, effectively prohibiting it from working in Russia.
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