MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti) – A court in Moscow on Friday ruled to place outspoken government opponent Alexei Navalny under house arrest and forbid him from using the Internet.
The Basmanny city court made its ruling in connection with an ongoing embezzlement case involving the Russian representative office of French cosmetics giant Yves Rocher.
Barring Navalny from using the Internet will ostensibly stop him from accessing his widely followed Twitter account and blog page, both of which he has used to rally supporters and publish accounts of alleged malfeasance by government officials.
The house arrest is effective up to April 28.
Judge Artur Karpov made his ruling in response to an investigator complaint about Navalny allegedly violating bail terms issued as part of an ongoing corruption probe into the politician’s dealings with Yves Rocher.
Investigators charged Navalny and his brother Oleg with fraud in a case involving Yves Rocher Vostok in November.
Authorities say they believe the Navalny brothers defrauded Yves Rocher Vostok of about 26 million rubles ($790,000) and cheated the Multidisciplinary Processing Company out of 4 million rubles.
Navalny’s supporters argue that the investigations are politically motivated.
Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry confirmed Friday that Navalny’s Progress Party had been registered as an official political party and was included in the unified state registry on February 25.
The move followed the decision by Navalny and his allies to change the original name of the party – People’s Alliance – in the face of a potentially grueling court battle with another political party under the same name that had been registered before.
Updates with official registration of Navalny’s Progress Party