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Yaroslavl Police Demand Former Navalny Official Cover Expenditures To Disperse Protest


Yelena Lekiashvili was one of the organizers of the nationwide demonstrations in January against Navalny's arrest. (file photo)

Police have demanded that a court force the former coordinator for jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's team in the Russian city of Yaroslavl to cover the amount of money spent to disperse a rally to support the Kremlin critic in January.

Yelena Lekiashvili said on June 20 that the Yaroslavl city police department want her to pay 510,000 rubles ($7,000), which, according to the police department, would reimburse the labor costs for 204 police officers who had to work at the demonstration on January 23.

Lekiashvili was one of the organizers of the nationwide demonstrations in January against Navalny's arrest. She was found guilty of organizing the unsanctioned rally in the city, which is some 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow, on January 23 and served 10 days in jail for the offense.

Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport on January 17 upon his arrival from Germany, where he was recovering from a poison attack by what several European laboratories concluded was a military-grade chemical nerve agent in Siberia.

Navalny has insisted that his poisoning was ordered directly by President Vladimir Putin, which the Kremlin has denied.

In February, a Moscow court ruled that, while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case, which is widely considered to have been politically motivated. His 3 1/2-year suspended sentence from the case was converted to a jail term, though the court said he will serve 2 1/2 years in prison given time he had been held in detention.

More than 10,000 supporters of Navalny were detained across Russia during and after the January rallies. Many of those detained were either fined or handed several-day jail terms. At least 90 were charged with criminal misdeeds and several have been fired by their employers.

After the rallies, police in the Russian cities of Omsk, Kemerovo, Penza, and Chelyabinsk demanded that organizers of the pro-Navalny protests compensate them for their expenditures to disperse the rallies.

With reporting by Mediazona
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