Lyubov Sobol, an ally of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, was detained for 48 hours after questioning, according to her lawyer

Davies

Lyubov Sobol, an ally of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, was detained for 48 hours after questioning, according to her lawyer.

Key points:

  • A criminal case has been launched against Ms Sobol over accusation she violently entered a flat
  • Her supporters say the flat was linked to a secret agent involved in the plot to kill Mr Navalny
  • Mr Navalny criticised the Kremlin’s move against Ms Sobol

Russia launched a criminal case against Ms Sobol over accusations she had violently entered a flat that her supporters said was linked to a secret agent involved in a plot to kill Mr Navalny.

The move against Ms Sobol is the latest in a clampdown on the Kremlin’s opponents before next year’s parliamentary election.

Ms Sobol aims to run for office, although outspoken critics of the Kremlin are often prevented from standing.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which handles serious crimes, said on its website it had launched a criminal case against Ms Sobol.

It did not mention any detention.

Her supporters said she rang the doorbell of an apartment owned by the family of a man who Mr Navalny has said was an FSB security service officer involved in a bungled attempt to poison him using a nerve agent.

The FSB has dismissed Mr Navalny’s account of the poisoning.

In its account, the Investigative Committee said Ms Sobol and several others tried to gain entry to an old woman’s flat in Moscow, wearing uniforms used by the state consumer health watchdog.

Lyubov Sobol and Alexei Navalny standing next to each other at a rally looking at the camera

Lyubov Sobol (left) is an ally of Alexei Navalny, who spoke out against her detainment on Twitter.(Reuters: Shamil Zhumatov, file)

It accused her of tricking a delivery courier to enter the apartment block before barging into the woman’s flat when she opened the door.

It said Ms Sobol was suspected of using violence to enter illegally, an offence that can carry a jail term of up to two years.

Mr Navalny wrote on Twitter: “They are locking up the mother of a small child for two days to tell everybody: don’t dig into this case. Don’t dare to mess with our killers and poisoners and knock on their doors. These killers are untouchable.”

Germany and other Western nations say Mr Navalny was poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in a murder attempt.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the accusations.

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