Russian court outlaws opposition leader Navalny’s groups

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Russian Court Outlaws Opposition Leader Navalny’s Groups
Russia Opposition, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press

A Moscow court has outlawed the organisations founded by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the latest move in a campaign by authorities to silence dissent and bar Kremlin critics from running for parliament in September.

The Moscow City Court’s ruling of labelling the groups extremist, effective immediately, prevents people associated with Mr Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and his sprawling network of regional offices across Russia from seeking public office.

Many of Mr Navalny’s allies had hoped to run for parliamentary seats in the September 19 election.

The extremism label also carries lengthy prison terms for activists who have worked with the organisations, anyone who donated to them, and even those who simply shared the groups’ materials.

Mr Navalny, the most ardent political opponent of President Vladimir Putin, was arrested in January upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin — an accusation that Russian officials reject.

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In February, Mr Navalny was given a two-and-a-half year prison term for violating the terms of a suspended sentence from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that he dismissed as politically motivated.

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