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World

Russia sentences Navalny ally over threat to alleged agent

  • A Moscow court said on its Telegram channel Thursday that it had given her a suspended sentence of "correctional labour for a period of one year".
Published April 15, 2021

MOSCOW: A Russian court on Thursday sentenced an ally of jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny to one year of community service for trying to enter the home of an alleged security agent he said took part in his poisoning.

Navalny in December said he had tricked an alleged chemical weapons expert with the Federal Security Service (FSB) into admitting that the domestic intelligence agency had sought to kill him last summer by placing poison in his underwear.

His aide Lyubov Sobol that month went to the alleged agent's home and rang his doorbell, after which Russian authorities opened a criminal probe into her for trespassing "with the use of violence or the threat to use it".

A Moscow court said on its Telegram channel Thursday that it had given her a suspended sentence of "correctional labour for a period of one year".

It added that 10 percent of her wages would go to the state each month as part of her punishment.

Sobol had arrived at the court wearing a white T-shirt printed with red text reading: "Where is the criminal case over the poisoning of Navalny?"

After her sentencing she said on Twitter: "Meanwhile, a case into the attempted murder of Navalny has still not even been initiated."

Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter that the ruling would not preclude Sobol from balloting in parliamentary polls this autumn.

Her lawyer Vladimir Voronin said on Twitter that he had already prepared an appeal to the ruling.

Last August, Navalny collapsed on a flight from Siberia to Moscow.

He was transported in an induced coma to Berlin, where Western experts determined he had been poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.

Navalny says the poisoning was orchestrated by President Vladimir Putin and carried out by the FSB, claims the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

After spending months recovering in Germany, Navalny returned to Russia in January where he was arrested and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a penal colony over an old embezzlement conviction.

A Russian military court last month rejected his complaint over the lack of a criminal investigation into his poisoning.

Navalny, his allies and his regional network routinely face police raids and arrests over their political activities.

Shortly after the Sobol sentencing, Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation said on Twitter that his regional offices in the Siberian city of Irkutsk were facing a police raid.

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