Lyubov Sobol, a close associate of Russian opposition leader Alexej Navalni, is said to have fled Russia. Anonymous sources have told Russian channels RT and REN TV that the 33-year-old lawyer flew to Turkey on Saturday. From there she would have traveled on to an unknown destination.
On Thursday, a Moscow court restricted Sobol’s freedom of movement for a period of one and a half years. She is not allowed to leave her home between 10pm and 6am and she is not allowed to attend mass events or leave Moscow. The activist received this sentence for her role in protests in January. Then thousands of Russians took to the streets to demand the release of Navalni. On Friday, another Kremlin critic employee was given a similar sentence and Navalni’s brother was sentenced to a one-year suspended prison term.
Sobol is one of the best-known faces of Navalni’s anti-corruption movement. Since June, the organization has been officially registered as ‘extremist’ and many prominent Navalni supporters have left Russia. They fear prosecution in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in September. Sobol had lagged behind thus far. For example, former director Andrei Pivovarov of the Russian opposition group Open Russia was taken from a plane in Saint Petersburg last June and arrested. The plane was about to depart from Pulkovo airport when officers stopped the plane and took it, Pivovarov said on Twitter.
After her sentencing, Sobol told radio station Ekho Moskvy that the sentence would not take effect immediately and that you should “see it as an opportunity to leave the country”. The editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy confirmed on Sunday that the lawyer is no longer in Russia. Sobol herself could not be reached and acquaintances of hers did not want to comment.
Former director Andrei Pivovarov of the Russian opposition group Open Russia was removed from a plane in Saint Petersburg last June and arrested. The plane was about to depart from Pulkovo airport when officers stopped the plane and took it, Pivovarov said on Twitter.
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