Lawyers of the Team 29 (Komanda 29) judicial group have appealed a decision to restrict the activities of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK)
The Team 29 said in a statement that its lawyers Maksim Olenichev and Valeria Vetoshkina filed the appeal with the Moscow First Court of Appeals on May 6.
The Moscow City Court ruled on April 27 that the activities of the FBK and another group associated with Navalny, the Citizens’ Rights Defense Foundation (FZPG), must be temporarily banned from using media, placing materials on the Internet, taking part in elections and referendums, and carrying out some banking operations.
A day earlier, the Moscow prosecutor halted all activities of Navalny's regional offices and petitioned the court to do the same for the FBK and FZPG as the prosecutors didn't have the authority to do so on their own.
The move is part of a broader initiative by the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office, which seeks to have the Moscow City Court label the FBK, the FZPG, and Navalny’s regional headquarters, as “extremist.”
That proposal has been condemned by international and domestic human rights groups who say that if the Navalny organizations are labeled as "extremist," their employees and those passing on information about them could face arrest and lengthy prison terms.
Vetoshkina said in the May 6 statement that some of the restrictions could not be imposed by a court.
"For instance, within current laws, the ban to hold public events is irrelevant for a foundation since it cannot organize them by law. Therefore, the court went beyond the current legislation, which indicates that its goal is to create maximum obstacles for the organization’s activities. It is obvious that the FBK's operations do not impose any danger to the rights, freedoms and lawful interests of a wide number of people because they fully correspond to legal requirements," Vetoshkina said.
The leader of Team 29, noted that Russian lawyer Ivan Pavlov was briefly detained in Moscow on April 30 and accused of disclosing classified information about the ongoing investigation of one of his clients, former journalist Ivan Safronov.
A Moscow court then barred Pavlov from using the Internet, mobile telephones, and communicating with witnesses in Safronov's case, which caused a public outcry across Russia.
On May 3, Pavlov issued a statement, saying he and his team will continue to defend all their clients, including Navalny’s groups, despite the restrictions imposed on him.