A court in Moscow is studying the request for subjecting several allies of opposition leader Alexei Navalny to house arrest as authorities struggle to quell new protests against the imprisonment of the anti-corruption investigator.
The followers of Navalny have called events on Sunday to demand their freedom. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Russia last weekend to protest his arrest on January 17.
Navalny, 44, the most prominent critic of the government of President Vladimir Putin, was arrested upon his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a poisoning with a nerve agent, a fact that he accuses the Kremlin. The Russian authorities have rejected the accusation.
Navalny was jailed for 30 days when the prison service accused him of violating the conditions of his probation. under a money laundering conviction that he says is politically motivated. A Moscow court on Thursday rejected an appeal for his release and another hearing next week could turn his three-and-a-half years of probation into effective prison.
Navalny’s brother Oleg Navalny, his main ally Lyubov Sobol, Dr. Anastasia Vasilyeva of the Navalny-backed Alliance of Doctors and Maria Alyokhina of the punk collective Pussy Riot were detained for 48 hours. as part of a criminal investigation of alleged violations of coronavirus rules in protests last Saturday.
Navalny supporters are organizing new demonstrations for Sunday. Police raided the Navalny department, where his wife Yulia lives, and the residences of several of his followers on Wednesday.