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Russian Prosecutors Seek 'Restricted Freedom' For Yet Another Navalny Aide In 'Sanitary Case'


Kira Yarmysh arrives at a court hearing in Moscow in March.

MOSCOW -- Prosecutors have asked a Moscow court to sentence Kira Yarmysh, the spokeswoman of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, to two years of so-called "restricted freedom."

The prosecutor asked the Preobrazhensky District court on August 12 to convict Yarmysh of publicly calling for the violation of anti-pandemic restrictions by urging people to take part in unsanctioned rallies to support Navalny in January.

Yarmysh's lawyer, Veronika Polyakova, posted on Twitter that prosectors want Yarmysh subjected to a curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and banned from leaving Moscow or changing her permanent address.

A verdict in the case is expected on August 16.

Last week, Navalny's brother Oleg was found guilty in the same case on the same charges and handed a one-year suspended sentence and a one-year probation period.

Hours before Oleg Navalny’s sentence was pronounced, another Navalny associate, Nikolai Lyaskin was given one year of "restricted freedom" in the case, which has become known as the "sanitary case."

One of Navalny's closest associates, Lyubov Sobol, was found guilty and given an 18-month parole-like sentence on August 3 in the same case. Media reports that she fled Russia after that have not been confirmed either by her or her associates.

On August 2, January rally participant Dani Akel was fined 100,000 rubles (almost $1,400) on similar charges.

Other individuals charged in the case include municipal lawyers Dmitry Baranovsky and Lyusya Shtein; the chief of the Physicians' Alliance NGO, Anastasia Vasilyeva; a leading member of the Pussy Riot protest group, Maria Alyokhina; and a coordinator of Navalny's team in Moscow, Oleg Stepanov.

Most of them are under house arrest or curfew.

Aleksei Navalny was arrested on January 17 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he was treated for poisoning with a Novichok-type nerve agent that he says was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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The Kremlin has denied any role in the incident.

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

On February 2, Navalny was convicted of violating the terms of his suspended sentence related to an embezzlement case that he has called politically motivated. The remainder of Navalny's suspended sentence, 2 1/2 years, was then replaced by a real prison term.

That ruling sparked new protests that were also forcibly dispersed by police.

More than 1,400 people were detained by police in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities during those demonstrations.

The Investigative Committee said on August 12 that a person was detained in the city of Kirov, almost 900 kilometers northeast of Moscow, on suspicion of threatening via the Internet to kill a Moscow prosecutor involved in making the decision to seek a prison term for Navalny.

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