Russian court restricts Navalny ally Sobol's freedoms for 18 months


FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition figure Lyubov Sobol gives a news conference in Moscow, Russia January 26, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) -A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced Lyubov Sobol, a close ally of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, to 1-1/2 years of parole-like restrictions after finding her guilty of inciting people to break COVID-19 safety regulations.

Sobol, who says the accusation against her is politically-motivated nonsense, was charged after an unsanctioned street protest in support of Navalny earlier this year.

Sobol was ordered to remain at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. for 18 months, banned her from attending mass events and told she must check in with the police three times a month, her lawyer Vladimir Voronin wrote on Twitter.

Sobol had initially been placed under house arrest. Several close Navalny allies, including his brother, are being tried for the same offence.

Navalny himself 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 ahead of September parliamentary elections.

(Reporting by Anton ZverevWriting by Alexander MarrowEditing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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