Russian law enforcement detained three of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's lawyers on suspicion of belonging to "an extremist group," Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh reported on Oct. 13.
"It is another step towards isolating Alexei Navalny and essentially banning him from receiving legal assistance," said Yarmysh.
Vadim Kobzev, Igor Sergunin, and Alexei Liptser were reportedly searched earlier in the day. According to politician Elvira Vikhareva, cited by Navalny's team on Telegram, Russian authorities are also conducting searches at an office of the bar association Dalet, which includes another of Navalny's lawyers, Olga Mikhailova.
"As in Soviet times, they persecute not only political activists and turn them into political prisoners but also their lawyers," Navalny commented when he found out about the searches during a court hearing.
Russian law enforcement hasn't confirmed the searches and detentions.
On Sept. 27, Navalny was transferred to a single-cell room for one year after the Moscow City Court rejected Navalny's appeal against a 19-year sentence on extremism charges.
That sentence is on top of the 11-and-a-half years Navalny is currently serving in a maximum security prison after being convicted in 2020 for fraud and other charges, all of which he denies.
The European Union, the U.S., and the U.K. criticized the court's sentence as politically motivated and demanded the immediate release of Navalny.