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Moscow Court Sentences Lyubov Sobol to 1.5 Years of Restricted Freedom in 'COVID-19 Case'

© AFP 2021 / DIMITAR DILKOFFOpposition figure Lyubov Sobol talks to the media after being handed a one year community service suspended sentence over charges for trespassing and violence
Opposition figure Lyubov Sobol talks to the media after being handed a one year community service suspended sentence over charges for trespassing and violence  - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.08.2021
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow's Preobrazhensky District Court has sentenced Lyubov Sobol — former lawyer of Alexey Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (labelled as a foreign agent and outlawed in Russia) — to 1.5 years of restricted freedom for incitement to violate sanitary and epidemiological regulations.
"To find guilty of committing the crime ... and impose a sentence of restriction of liberty for one year and six months," the court said on Tuesday.
Prosecutors initially asked the court to sentence Sobol to two years of restricted freedom: to ban her from leaving home from 22:00 to 6:00, from participating in public events and from travelling outside the municipality where she lives.
This is the first verdict announced in the case that was initiated following illegal rallies that were held in Moscow in winter. According to investigators, Sobol and other defendants in the case incited people to come to rallies, thus creating a threat of surge in COVID-19 cases.
Later on Monday, Sobol's lawyer, Vladimir Voronin, said her defence team would challenge the court verdict.
"Yes, of course, we disagree and will challenge the verdict," Voronin said.
© Sputnik / Yevgeny Odinokov / Go to the photo bankUnauthorised rallies in support of Alexei Navalny Moscow 23 January
Unauthorised rallies in support of Alexei Navalny  Moscow 23 January - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
Unauthorised rallies in support of Alexei Navalny Moscow 23 January
Many defendants in the case, including Navalny’s brother, Oleg, and press secretary Kira Yarmysh, as well as Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina, have been placed under house arrest for violating sanitary rules by calling for protests during the pandemic.
Russian cities saw earlier this year a wave of unauthorised protests in support of Navalny, who was detained on his arrival in Moscow from Germany, where he was treated for alleged poisoning. The 45-year-old was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for parole breach in a financial fraud case and is currently serving the term in a penal colony in the Vladimir Region of Russia.
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