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1 Feb, 2021 15:42

Navalny press secretary Yarmysh is latest associate put under house arrest, gets two months over alleged role in opposition protes

Navalny press secretary Yarmysh is latest associate put under house arrest, gets two months over alleged role in opposition protes

Kira Yarmysh, a close ally of imprisoned opposition figure Alexey Navalny, will be confined to her home until late March, a court ruled on Monday, amid a wave of restrictions aimed at the organizers of nationwide protests.

Moscow’s Basmanny Court ordered the activist to remain under house arrest until March 23 while charges are prepared by prosecutors. A spokesman for the judges told RIA Novosti that investigators had requested the “preventative measure” because of allegations that Yarmysh was involved in “creating the threat of mass disease” after crowds gathered to demonstrate for Navalny’s release earlier this month.

Navalny’s spokeswoman was detained by police on Saturday, ahead of a second consecutive weekend of protests. According to her lawyer, a criminal case has been opened by federal authorities.

Two other associates of the anti-corruption campaigner, Nikolai Lyaskin and Dmitry Baranovsky, are now facing similar terms, with requests pending from Russia’s Investigative Committee. As with Yarmysh, no charges have yet been filed in their cases, but the complaints relate to their alleged involvement in organizing opposition rallies over the past two weeks.

Also on rt.com Kremlin dubs some protesters ‘hooligans & provocateurs,’ says appeal for US sanctions proves Navalny’s team are ‘foreign agents’

Mass gatherings, including protests, have been prohibited under Russia’s Covid-19 pandemic laws. As a result, those encouraging attendance at pickets and marches over the past two weeks have fallen foul of sanitary rules, an offense which carries up to two years behind bars if convicted.

Other high-profile figures with links to Navalny have already been ordered to remain at home under the same provisions. On Saturday, the opposition figure’s brother Oleg, as well as prominent associate Lubov Sobol, doctors’ union head Anastasia Vasilyeva, and Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina were all told not to leave their apartments or attend public gatherings on penalty of arrest.

Thousands took to the streets in cities across Russia on Sunday for the second consecutive weekend since the arrest of Navalny after landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport earlier in January. He had flown home from Berlin, where he had been transferred in a comatose state after what his supporters – and some international observers – allege was a state-sponsored poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok.

The opposition figure is accused of violating the terms of a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for fraud. He is due to stand trial over the charges in early February.

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