UFA, Russia -- A woman who headed a regional organization for jailed opposition activist Aleksei Navalny was ordered jailed on extremism charges, in an unusual prosecution that appeared to target her for retroactive crimes.
A district court in the central city of Ufa on November 10 ordered Lilia Chanysheva to remain in pretrial detention in Moscow until at least January 9.
Chanysheva, who her supporters said was newly pregnant, was detained a day earlier in Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, after police searched her home.
Chanysheva's lawyers, who had asked the court to place her under house arrest, said they will appeal the ruling.
Chanysheva headed the local unit of Navalny's network of regional campaign groups until his team disbanded them after a Moscow prosecutor went to court to have them branded extremist. A court later accepted the prosecutor's appeal, and labeled the national network extremist, effectively outlawing them.
Defense lawyer Vladimir Voronin said Chanysheva's arrest was the first of its kind since the movement was banned. The charges also appeared to be retroactive, since the organization she worked for disbanded before it had been legally classified as extremist.
Another Ufa-based activist, Olga Komleva, earlier told RFE/RL that police searched the homes of other activists who used to work for Navalny's team in Ufa and in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. The activists’ computers and mobile phones were confiscated, she said.
Some of the activists were detained for questioning.
Navalny himself has been in prison since February, while several of his associates have been charged with establishing an extremist group. Many of his associates have fled the country.