Russia hands Kremlin critic Navalny’s brother one-year suspended sentence

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The brother of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was sentenced on Friday to a one-year suspended sentence for breaching coronavirus regulations earlier this year.

Along with several other opposition figures, Oleg Navalny, 38, was accused of calling for Russians to attend an unsanctioned rally in January in support of his brother, who had returned to Russia after being treated in Germany for a near-fatal poisoning attack.

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Moscow’s Preobrazhensky district court on Friday also slapped a Navalny ally, Nikolai Lyaskin, with a year of restricted movement in the same case.

The 39-year-old activist said that the court had banned him from leaving his home between 10 pm and 6 am as well as from attending mass events and leaving Moscow.

Russia’s opposition says authorities have stepped up a campaign of intimidation against dissenters ahead of a parliamentary vote in September, allegations the Kremlin has rejected.

In June, Russia declared Navalny’s organizations extremist and barred his allies from running in the polls.

Earlier this week a court sentenced another key Navalny ally, Lyubov Sobol, to a year and a half of restricted movement in the same case.

In 2014, Alexei and Oleg Navalny were convicted in a fraud trial related to their work for French cosmetics company Yves Rocher.

While the opposition politician received a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence, his brother was jailed for the same amount of time in a move activists compared to hostage taking. Oleg Navalny served out his sentence in full and was freed in 2018.

Alexei Navalny, 45, who survived a near fatal poisoning with a Soviet-designed nerve agent last summer, was imprisoned in February for two-and-a-half-years on old embezzlement charges.

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