Sat, 08 May 2021

MOSCOW -- Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer for jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), has been handed a one-year suspended sentence and a penalty of either 10 percent of her wages or correctional labor for trespassing.

According to Russian legislation, those handed such a sentence must pay the State Treasury the required amount if they are employed. If they are unemployed, they must work at jobs defined by the Federal Penitentiary Service during the term of their sentence.

The court on April 15 found Sobol guilty of illegally forcing her way into the apartment of Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Konstantin Kudryavtsev in December 2020, hours after Navalny had published a recording of what he said was a phone conversation with Kudryavtsev.

During the 49-minute phone call, in which the anti-corruption campaigner posed as an FSB official conducting an internal review, Kudryavtsev described the details of an operation to poison the Kremlin critic in August.

SEE ALSO: 'Russian Watergate': Russian Social Media Reacts After Navalny 'Dupes' FSB Agent On His Poisoning

Investigators say Sobol pushed Kudryavtsev's mother-in-law, who opened the door, and forcibly entered the apartment.

Sobol rejected the charge, saying she did not push Kudryavtsev's mother-in-law, but went to the apartment to meet Kudryavtsev to ask him about his conversation with Navalny.

Her team has described the case as political 'revenge' for a lawyer not being afraid to ask questions of the alleged assassin.

In her final statement at the trial, Sobol reminded the court that no probe had been launched into Navalny's poisoning.

'I am sure that my verdict will be guilty. Because it is me on trial, not those who poisoned Navalny, not members of the [ruling] United Russia [party],' Sobol said.

SEE ALSO: Memorial Human Rights Center Recognizes Navalny's Associates, Supporters As Political Prisoners

Kudryavtsev was not summoned to the trial to testify, which investigators said was not necessary because he was neither a witness nor a plaintiff in the case.

Navalny was arrested on January 17 upon his return to Russia from Germany, where he received life-saving treatment for the poisoning in Siberia in August.

Navalny has insisted that his poisoning with a Soviet-style chemical nerve agent was ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The FSB and the Kremlin have denied any role in the poisoning.

In February, a Moscow court ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case that is widely considered as being politically motivated.

Navalny's 3 1/2-year suspended sentence from the case was converted to a jail term, though the court said he will serve 2 1/2 years in prison given time already served in detention.

The United States and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia over the Navalny affair and ensuing crackdown on protesters.

Last month, Sobol said she planned to run for parliament's lower chamber, the State Duma, in September elections

Sobol is currently under house arrest in another case. She and several other associates and supporters of Navalny were charged with violating sanitary regulations during unsanctioned rallies on January 21 to protest Navalny's incarceration.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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