A Moscow court has placed outspoken Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny under house arrest for two months.
The Basman District Court on February 28 satisfied a demand by investigators that Navalny be put under pretrial house arrest until April 28 while a probe continues against him and his brother Oleg
in a case linked to alleged embezzlement and money laundering.
The court also barred Navalny from using the Internet or talking to the media. Navalny, however, spoke to reporters as he left the courtroom.
"Using my last opportunity to address [the media before the sentence goes into effect] I would like to say that it is obvious that my persecution is unlawful," he said. "I think it needs no explanation that the whole affair is solely aimed at limiting my options of proceeding with corruption investigations."
The court justified its decision by saying that Navalny had violated the terms of a previous court ruling, under which he was not allowed to leave Moscow.
Navalny, an anticorruption blogger and opponent of President Vladimir Putin, helped lead a wave of antigovernment protests in 2011 and 2012.
He is serving a five-year suspended sentence on a theft conviction he says was a Kremlin reprisal.
On February 25, Navalny was jailed until March 3
for resisting arrest earlier this week at a rally.
Navalny added that the work of his Anticorruption Foundation will continue.
"This court has de facto curtailed my right to defend myself since now I am being denied the right to inform the media about the fact that I am innocent. I am being denied the right to inform the media about the fabrication of the criminal case against me that is ongoing at the Investigative Committee," he said.
"Nevertheless, I would like to assure everyone that my position remains unchanged. The Anticorruption Foundation continues its activities and will do perfectly so without my presence; my blog will be handled by my colleagues from the Anticorruption Foundation and we will continue fighting this occupational regime as we have been so far."
Meanwhile, a political party helmed by Navalny has been officially registered at the Justice Ministry.
A lawyer for Navalny's Party of Progress, Dmitry Krainev, said on February 28 it would be difficult for the party to register its branches in 42 regions to be able to take part in September elections for the Moscow City Duma.
Navalny announced the creation of the party in 2012, but the Justice Ministry had refused to register it, citing technical issues.
With reporting by Interfax, Reuters, Tvrain.ru, and ITAR-TASS