MOSCOW -- A Moscow court has sentenced another supporter of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny to 18 months of so-called "restricted freedom," a parole-like sentence, for allegedly violating restrictive measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
The Moscow Court of Common Jurisdiction said on Telegram that the Preobrazhensky district court handed down the sentence to Moscow municipal lawmaker Dmitry Baranovsky on August 30 after he was found guilty of publicly calling for people to take part in unsanctioned rallies to support the Kremlin critic in January.
According to the court ruling, Baranovsky is not allowed to leave his home from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., attend public events, or leave Moscow or the Moscow region without police permission for 18 months. Last week, the same court sentenced another municipal lawmaker, Lyusya Shtein, to one year of restricted freedom on the same charge. Earlier this month, other defendants in the case, Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh and his Moscow team coordinator Oleg Stepanov were sentenced to 18 months and one year of restricted freedom respectively. Navalny's brother Oleg was found guilty of the same charges this month and handed a one-year suspended sentence and a one-year probation period. Other Navalny associates and rights activists have been given similar sentences on the same charges. 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.
The Kremlin has denied any role in the incident, which was the latest of numerous attacks on the 45-year-old lawyer.
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 with 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.