Moscow court puts Navalny’s allies under house arrest

MOSCOW (AP) – A Moscow court on Friday put the brother and several allies of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny under house arrest for two months as authorities sought to stymie more protests over the jailing of the top Kremlin foe.

Navalny’s supporters called for rallies last Sunday to demand his release. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated across Russia last weekend to protest his January 17 arrest and 30-day detention.

Moscow police announced that pedestrian movement would be restricted in the city centre on Sunday and that subway stations in the vicinity of the planned protest site would be closed. Restaurants and stores in the area also will be closed, mayoral aide Alexei Nemeryuk was quoted as saying by the state news agency Tass.

The 44-year-old Navalny, the anti-corruption investigator and the best-known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government was arrested upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusations.

Navalny was jailed for 30 days after Russia’s prison service alleged he had violated the probation terms of his suspended sentence from a 2014 money-laundering conviction that he has rejected as politically motivated.

A demonstrator waves a red flag and holds a banner that reads: ‘I’m for Navalny’, at a protest supporting jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia. PHOTO: AP