Russian courts uphold Navalny verdict, fine Kremlin critic
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who is accused of slandering a Russian World War Two veteran, gestures as he stands inside a defendant dock during a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, Russia February 16, 2021, in this still image taken from video. Press Service of Babushkinsky District Court of Moscow/Handout via REUTERS

A Moscow court on Thursday extended the house arrest of allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, including his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh and Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina, who are charged with violating coronavirus measures.

Russian authorities cracked down on the opposition after they mobilised rallies across the country in January to demand Navalny’s release and condemn Kremlin rule.

The Basmanny district court “granted the request of investigators to extend the measure of house arrest” until June 23 for Yarmysh, Alekhina and the coordinator of Navalny’s Moscow office Oleg Stepanov, a court spokesperson told RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday.

They are among the 10 opposition figures, including key Navalny aide Lyubov Sobol and his brother Oleg, who are facing charges of violating sanitary and epidemiological measures during a Moscow protest.

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Navalny’s team maintain that the charges are fabricated.

The activists have been under house arrest since late January as nationwide demonstrations were held in support of Navalny, who was jailed after returning from Germany where he was recovering from nerve agent poisoning.

Navalny, 44, was sentenced in February to two-and-a-half years in a penal colony for breaching the terms of a suspended sentence.

Both the United States and the European Union have called for Navalny’s immediate release and slapped sanctions on Moscow over the poisoning attack.


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