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Navalny Associate Sobol Added To Russia's Wanted List

Lyubov Sobol speaks to the media as she arrives for a court hearing in Moscow on August 3.
Lyubov Sobol speaks to the media as she arrives for a court hearing in Moscow on August 3.

Russian opposition politician Lyubov Sobol, a close associate of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, has been added to Russia's wanted list after she fled the country days after being found guilty of breaking coronavirus measures.

Sobol appeared in recent days in the database of wanted persons of the Interior Ministry, with a designation that she is "wanted under an article of the Criminal Code."

The 34-year-old lawyer fled Russia in August, days after she was sentenced to 18 months of parole-like limits on her freedom after a court in Moscow found her guilty of publicly calling for the violation of sanitary and epidemiological safety precautions.

The charge stemmed from Sobol's involvement in organizing unsanctioned rallies to protest Navalny's incarceration in January.

Several Navalny associates have been found guilty on similar charges, which justice officials have been using as a thinly veiled pretense for rounding up those around the Kremlin's most vocal critic.

Media reports have said that Sobol is currently in neighboring Estonia.

Separately, another court in the Russian capital in April handed Sobol a one-year suspended sentence of correctional labor after finding her guilty of trespassing in what she described as a ruling designed to silence her.

Navalny was arrested after returning to Russia from Germany, where he was treated for a near-fatal poisoning with a Novichok-type nerve agent that he says was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin has denied any role in the incident, which was the latest of numerous attacks on Navalny.

In February, Navalny was convicted of violating the terms of a suspended sentence related to an embezzlement case that he has called politically motivated. The remainder of his suspended sentence, 2 1/2 years, was changed to real prison time.

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