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Navalny ally Sobol leaves Russia after court ruling finds her guilty of organising unauthorised protests during Covid-19 – reports

The former lawyer for Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK), Sobol flew to the Turkish capital, Istanbul, from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on Saturday evening, Russian media reported, citing law enforcement sources.

According to the sources cited, Sobol was expected to fly to another country from Istanbul, but her final destination, as well as her current whereabouts, are unknown. She has so far not confirmed her departure herself.

On Tuesday, Moscow’s Preobrazhensky District Court imposed restrictions on Sobol for inciting a breach of public health laws earlier this year, when she called on people to join unauthorized rallies in support of Navalny.

She was banned from leaving her home between 22:00 and 06:00, as well as from attending any mass events and from leaving Moscow or the surrounding region for 18 months. She was also ordered to present herself before the authorities three times a month during this period.

Navalny was arrested on his return to Moscow from Germany, where he was recovering from what he and the German government claimed to be poisoning with a nerve agent.

His arrest prompted his allies to call for massive demonstrations in his name, in defiance of restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Navalny was eventually sentenced to a prison term for breaching the terms of a suspended sentence for fraud.

Sobol was also handed a suspended sentence – comprising a year of community service – for “home invasion.” The activist had been found guilty of “violently” breaking into an apartment of an elderly woman. Navalny’s allies claimed the woman was a relative of an alleged member of the security service team that had supposedly poisoned the opposition figure.

Now, the activist may face repercussions for breaching the terms of her sentences. This may include a prison term, Denis Nikitin, a lawyer with the Human and Law legal center, told RT Russian.

The Russian authorities branded the FBK ‘foreign agent’ because it had received overseas funding. Founded by Navalny in 2011, it was also declared an “extremist group” back in June, and its work in Russia was de facto banned.

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