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Moscow Court Prolongs House Arrests Of Four Navalny Supporters


Kira Yarmysh attends a court hearing in Moscow 0n March 18.

A Moscow court has extended the house arrest of Kira Yarmysh, a spokeswoman of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny.

The Basmanny district court on March 18 ruled that the house arrest of Yarmysh and three other Navalny supporters will be prolonged until June 23.

No reason was given for the decision. The current house arrest period had been set to end on March 23.

Yarmysh, along with nine other associates and supporters of Navalny, have been charged with publicly calling for 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 have since been placed under house arrest.

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If found guilty of the charges against them, they face up to two years in prison.

On February 8, the Memorial human rights center in Moscow recognized the group as political prisoners.

The 44-year-old Navalny was arrested on January 17 after returning to Russia from Germany where he was treated for a nerve-agent poisoning that he says was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which the Kremlin has denied.

More than 10,000 people were rounded up by police during nationwide rallies protesting Navalny's arrest in more than 100 Russian towns and cities on January 23 and January 31.

On February 2, Navalny was found guilty of violating the terms of a suspended sentence relating to an embezzlement case that he has called politically motivated. The court converted the sentence to 3 1/2 years in prison. Given credit for time already spent in detention, the court said the Kremlin critic would have to serve just over 2 1/2 years behind bars.

The court's ruling sparked new mass protests across the country that were also violently dispersed by police.

More than 1,400 people were detained by police in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities on that day.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax
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