Another Navalny ally handed restrictions over protests

Daria Litvinova
Associated Press

Moscow – A court in Moscow on Monday sentenced another ally of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny to 1½ years of parole-like restrictions in a controversial case targeting opposition supporters in the wake of mass protests earlier this year.

Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokeswoman and close associate, was found guilty of inciting people to violate coronavirus restrictions. She was barred from attending mass events, traveling outside of Moscow and the outlying region or moving without informing law enforcement. Yarmysh will also have to check in with police once a month.

Yarmysh’s lawyer, Veronika Polyakova, told the Interfax news agency the defense would appeal the verdict. It came less then two weeks after another top ally of Navalny, Lyubov Sobol, was convicted on the same charges and sentenced to 18 months of similar restrictions. Ten days ago Navalny’s brother Oleg was also found guilty in the case and handed a one-year suspended sentence.

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh arrives at a court room in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.

The case against several allies of Navalny was launched shortly after nationwide protests over his arrest and jailing rocked Russia all across its 11 time zones on Jan. 23.

Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most ardent political foe, was arrested a week before that upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin – an accusation rejected by Russian officials.

In February, Navalny was ordered to serve 2½ years in prison for violating the terms of a suspended sentence from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that he dismissed as politically motivated.

His arrest and jailing sparked a wave of mass protests that appeared to be a major challenge to the Kremlin. The authorities responded with mass arrests of demonstrators and the criminal prosecutions of Navalny’s closest associates.

Sobol and others were accused of inciting people to break coronavirus regulations by urging them to join the protests.