Navalny Associate Sobol’s Curfew Extended Through Parliamentary Campaign

By: - June 8, 2021

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A Moscow court has prolonged the curfew for Lyubov Sobol, the lawyer for jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), potentially undermining her campaign for parliament.

Sobol’s lawyer, Vladimir Voronin, told the Interfax news agency on June 7 that the court extended her curfew by six months to the end of December.

The 33-year-old lawyer said in March she planned to run for parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, in September elections. She is the latest opposition politician seeking a seat in parliament to face legal pressure.

The curfew bars Sobol from leaving her home between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. It was imposed after she helped lead unsanctioned rallies on January 21 to protest Navalny’s incarceration.

Sobol and several other associates and supporters of Navalny were initially placed under house arrest, which was later replaced by a curfew.

Separately, in April another Moscow court sentenced Sobol to a one-year suspended sentence of correctional labor after finding her guilty of trespassing, in what she described as a decision designed to silence her.

The court agreed she illegally forced her way into the apartment of Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Konstantin Kudryavtsev in December 2020, hours after Navalny had published a recording of what he said was a phone conversation with Kudryavtsev.

During the 49-minute phone call, in which Navalny posed as an FSB official conducting an internal review, Kudryavtsev described the details of a state operation to poison the Kremlin critic in August.

Investigators claim Sobol pushed Kudryavtsev’s mother-in-law, who opened the door, and forcefully entered the apartment.

Sobol rejected the charge, saying she had not pushed Kudryavtsev’s mother-in-law, but went to the apartment to meet Kudryavtsev to ask him about his conversation with Navalny.

Her team has described the case as political “revenge” for a lawyer not afraid to ask questions of the alleged assassin.

Dmitry Gudkov, an opposition politician and former parliament member, said on June 6 that he fled Russia amid concern over his possible arrest on charges that he said were trumped up.

Gudkov said he was warned by several people close to the presidential administration that a fraud case recently opened against him would continue if he did not leave.

He claimed it was an attempt by the authorities for force him out of the country until at least the parliamentary elections.