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Moscow court converts Lyubov Sobol’s suspended sentence to real prison time

Source: Meduza

Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court has replaced the suspended sentence handed down to opposition figure Lyubov Sobol in the “apartment case” with a real prison term. 

The felony trespassing charges were brought against Sobol in December 2020, after she showed up at the apartment of Konstantin Kudryavtsev — one of the FSB agents implicated in the August 2020 poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. 

In April 2021, a Moscow court convicted Sobol, handing her a one-year provisional sentence of community service, in addition to garnishing 10 percent of her wages. Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) asked a court to convert Sobol’s suspended sentence to real prison time in November, citing her alleged failure to comply with probation requirements. 

In an Instagram post on Thursday, December 2, Sobol’s lawyer Vladimir Voronin wrote that the probation office claims to have been trying to locate his client for the past three months. Probation officers interviewed Sobol’s neighbors and sent inquiries to government officials, but did not contact her family members or colleagues, or send her summons by mail, Voronin noted. 

Sobol’s defense lawyers intend to appeal the court’s decision. Commenting on the ruling on Twitter, Sobol recalled that the Russian authorities have yet to open a criminal investigation into Navalny’s poisoning:

“A Russian court changed my provisional [sentence] of community service to real [prison time] due to my attempt to talk to Kudryavtsev from Navalny’s group of FSB assassins. A criminal case has yet to be opened against Navalny’s poisoners.”

In August, a Moscow court sentenced Sobol to 18 months of parole-like restrictions as part of the “Sanitary Case.” These “restrictions on freedom” included nighttime house arrest and a ban on traveling outside of Moscow. Sobol reportedly fled Russia shortly after receiving this conviction. Russia’s Interior Ministry placed Sobol on a wanted list in October.  

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