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Russian court arrests opposition leader Navalny's lawyers

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 13, 2023 10:50 PM 1 min read
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears on a screen set up at a courtroom of the Moscow City Court via a video link from his prison colony on May 17, 2022. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)
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A Moscow court arrested three of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's lawyers on Oct. 13 following their detention earlier the same day, the court's press service reported.

Vadim Kobzev, Igor Sergunin, and Alexei Liptser were detained by Russian law enforcement on suspicion of belonging to "an extremist group" after raids at their residences.

Following a reportedly closed-door hearing, the three lawyers were placed under investigative custody until Dec. 13.

Navalny's ally Ivan Zhdanov published an alleged excerpt of the case materials, which claimed that the defendants were passing information between the opposition leader and his group while they were visiting him in prison.

This supposedly allowed Navalny to "carry out the functions as the leader and the director of the extremist group," the excerpt published by Zhdanov read.

On Sept. 27, Navalny was transferred to a single-cell room 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.

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