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4 Feb, 2021 11:46

Top Navalny ally Sobol charged with breaching Russian Covid-19 rules over alleged role in organizing opposition rallies

Top Navalny ally Sobol charged with breaching Russian Covid-19 rules over alleged role in organizing opposition rallies

A close associate of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny faces prosecution over claims she broke pandemic prevention laws by promoting two successive weekends of demonstrations in support of the jailed activist.

The Investigative Committee of Russia said on Thursday that it would bring a case against Lubov Sobol for her role in the protests. Her lawyer, Vladimir Voronin, wrote on Twitter that “she is accused of inciting a violation of sanitary and epidemiological rules, which has created a threat of mass disease to the public, [and of] encouraging others to commit crimes.”

Sobol works as a lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK), which Navalny founded in 2011. The group is registered as a foreign agent by the Russian Ministry of Justice, because it receives funding from overseas. She also served as a member of the short-lived Russian Opposition Co-ordination Council, set up in the wake of protests in 2012.

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

A number of other Navalny allies have been placed under investigation for allegedly organizing two consecutive weekends of demonstrations, in which thousands took to the streets in cities across the country to demand the release of the activist from prison. While most marches were peaceful, some ended in violent clashes between protesters and police, with batons and stun devices being used in making arrests. Unauthorized mass gatherings have been prohibited in many parts of Russia, including the capital, since shortly after the start of the pandemic.

Earlier this week Navalny’s press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, was placed under house arrest until late March, while prosecutors decide whether to bring a case against her. Other high-profile associates are also facing similar measures, including doctors’ union head Anastasia Vasilyeva and punk rock group Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina, who are also banned from leaving their homes.

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