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Russian Opposition Leader's Spokeswoman, Others Placed Under House Arrest


Kira Yarmysh attends a court hearing in Moscow on March 18.
Kira Yarmysh attends a court hearing in Moscow on March 18.

MOSCOW -- The Moscow City Court has remanded Kira Yarmysh, spokeswoman of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, under house arrest.

The court also ruled on April 8 to preserve house arrest as the pretrial restriction for a leading member of the Pussy Riot protest group, Maria Alyokhina; a coordinator of Navalny's team in Moscow, Oleg Stepanov; and municipal lawmaker Dmitry Baranovsky.

The four along with six other associates and supporters of Navalny have been charged with publicly urging Moscow residents to violate sanitary and epidemiological safety precautions.

The group was detained in late January on the eve of unsanctioned mass rallies against Navalny's arrest. Most of them were placed under house arrest.

On April 7, the same court eased house arrest to milder restrictions for four persons in the case, including Navalny's brother, Oleg; a lawyer for Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, Lyubov Sobol; and Moscow city lawmakers Lyusya Shtein and Konstantin Yankauskas.

According to the court decision, the four opposition figures are now barred from leaving their homes between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., communicate with other individuals in the case, using any types of communication to discuss issues related to the case, or use regular mail or telegraphic communication.

The house arrest of another Navalny supporter in the case, the chief of the Alliance of Doctors union, Anastasia Vasilyeva, was cancelled in February.

The 10th person in the case, opposition activist Nikolai Lyaskin, is the only one among the group who was not placed under house arrest, but was ordered not to leave Moscow while the investigation is under way.

They all were charged with violating sanitary and epidemiological safety precautions during a pandemic. If found guilty of the charges, each faces up to two years in prison.

The Memorial Human Rights Center in Moscow has recognized the group as political prisoners.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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