NAfter Alexei Navalnyj’s phone call with one of his alleged assassins, an ally of the Kremlin critic was taken into custody in Russia. After criminal investigations had been initiated, Lyubov Sobol was first heard as a witness on Friday before she was formally accused and taken into custody for 48 hours, said Ivan Zhdanov, an employee of Navalnyj, in the evening.
Sobol was accused of “trespassing” under the “use or threat of violence”, said Zhdanov on Friday morning on Twitter. On Monday, Sobol tried to visit the FSB agent in his apartment, who had admitted in the phone call with Navalnyj that he was involved in the poison attack on him.
“Lyubov Sobol is now officially suspected in the context of this investigation, her status has changed,” said Zhdanov on Twitter. Sobol’s lawyer, Vladimir Voronin, confirmed the information without giving any details. The Navalnyj confidante faces two years in prison.
In the 45-minute phone call published by Navalnyj on Monday, in which the 44-year-old pretended to be a representative of the Russian Security Council, the alleged FSB agent Konstantin Kudryavtsev admitted the attack. In the recording, Kudryavtsev reported that the poison was attached to the inside of Navalnyj’s underpants.
Navalnyj had collapsed in August during an inner-Russian flight. Two days later he was brought to the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, lying in a coma. According to three European laboratories, the results of which have been confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Navalnyj was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. The Kremlin denies any involvement in the attack.
The 33-year-old Sobol was arrested on Monday when she rang the doorbell of Kudryavtsev’s apartment on the outskirts of Moscow in vain. After several hours in police custody, she was released.
On Friday morning, police arrested her at her Moscow apartment, which was also searched. Recordings from a surveillance camera in front of the apartment showed masked men in uniform on the landing until they sealed the lens. One of them carried a crowbar.