The wife of poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was fined Monday for joining the tens of thousands across Russia who protested her husband’s imprisonment.
Yulia Navalnaya was among more than 5,400 people detained Sunday during sometimes violent rallies calling for the 44-year-old opposition leader’s release.
She was released several hours later after being charged with participating in an unauthorized rally.
She appeared in court Monday and was fined 20,000 rubles — about $265 — for violating protest regulations, her lawyer Svetlana Davydova told the Interfax news agency. The defense plans to appeal the ruling.
Sunday was the second wave of mass protest over Navalny, who was arrested Jan. 17 as he returned to his homeland after five months in Germany recovering from a near-fatal poisoning. The Kremlin critic insists his poisoning was ordered by President Vladimir Putin.
The more than 5,400 detained Sunday was the most OVD-Info, a legal aid group that monitors arrests at protests, has seen in its nine years of keeping records in the Putin era.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday dismissed the tens of thousands who took to the streets, telling reporters that “there can be no conversation with hooligans and provocateurs.”
Navalny’s team has already called for more protests on Tuesday, when he is due to appear in court over several charges of violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement.
He faces up to two-and-a-half years in prison, with the General Prosecutor’s Office on Monday backing a request by the prison service to change the suspended sentence to jail time.
“This motion is considered lawful and justified,” the prosecutors said in a statement.
Officials also asked a court on Monday to place Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, under house arrest until March 23. She is one of a number of the opposition leader’s associates who has been arrested, many accused of breaking COVID-19 safety regulations by encouraging protests.
Putin has long denied being involved in the apparent assassination attempt, even suggesting Navalny may have poisoned himself.
With Post wires