Lyubov Sobol: Ally of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny given six-month prison sentence

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By AP  with Euronews
Lyubov Sobol pictured arriving at a court in Moscow in August 2021.
Lyubov Sobol pictured arriving at a court in Moscow in August 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A key ally of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been handed a six-month prison sentence by a Russian court.

Lyubov Sobol had been serving an 18-month sentence under parole conditions since August after being convicted of breaching coronavirus regulations.

But a Moscow court has now replaced her curfew and online restrictions with a prison sentence of five months and 26 days.

The charges against the activist were part of a wider crackdown by the Russian government against individuals involved in nationwide protests against Navalny’s arrest and incarceration.

Sobol -- who is reportedly living in exile abroad -- has denied the accusations against her, calling them baseless and politically motivated.

In April 2021, she also received a separate suspended sentence of one year’s community service for trespassing.

The activist had tried to confront a security operative who is alleged to have been involved in the poisoning of Navalny in August 2020.

The Russian opposition leader is currently imprisoned for a 2014 embezzlement conviction that the European Сourt of Human Rights has declared “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable.”

Navalny was arrested in January 2021 upon returning to Russia from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the Novichok nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin.

Russian officials have always rejected the allegations.