Europe

Russian court restricts Navalny spokesperson's freedoms

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Kira Yarmysh, Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's spokesperson who is accused of breaching COVID-19 safety regulations and is currently held under house arrest, arrives at a court building before a hearing in Moscow, Russia August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Files

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MOSCOW, Aug 16 (Reuters) - A Russian court imposed 18 months of restrictions on the freedom of movement of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh, after finding her guilty of breaching COVID-19 safety rules, according to her Twitter account.

Russia has cracked down on the opposition before a parliamentary election next month, and many of Navalny's most prominent allies have left Russia or face prosecution.

The court banned Yarmysh from leaving her home at night, taking part in rallies and changing her home address without first notifying prison authorities, the Tass news agency said.

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Yarmysh was found guilty of breaching COVID-19 safety rules over what police said was an illegal protest in support of Navalny last winter. She has said the charge was politically motivated.

The same charge has been levelled against other Navalny allies. One of them, Lyubov Sobol, was reported to have left the country earlier this month. She and her allies have not commented on her whereabouts. read more

Navalny is serving 2-1/2 years in jail for parole violations in an embezzlement case he says was trumped up. Navalny's allies accuse the authorities of using the law to crush dissenting voices before the Sept. 19 election.

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Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage

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