Moscow court extends detention of Alexey Navalny’s former lawyers until August

Vadim Kobzev and Alexey Liptser. Photo: Alexandra Astrakhanova / Mediazona

Vadim Kobzev and Alexey Liptser. Photo: Alexandra Astrakhanova / Mediazona

A Moscow court has prolonged the detention of three lawyers who represented the late Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, independent news outlet Mediazona reported on Tuesday.

The court ruled that lawyers Vadim Kobzev, Alexey Liptser, and Igor Sergunin could continue to be held in pretrial detention until at least 3 August, rejecting a request made by the men’s lawyers that the defendants be placed under house arrest.

The lawyers are facing charges of “participation in an extremist community”, for allegedly using their position to deliver letters written by Navalny in prison to his associates and thus enabling him to continue “leading an extremist community”.

The defence argued for house arrest on the basis that Liptser’s mother is disabled, while Kobzev himself argued that as Navalny was no longer alive, he could no longer be said to be leading an “extremist community”.

“We are accused of passing information to Navalny. But Navalny doesn’t need it anymore as he’s dead,” Kobzev told the court.

Sergunin, whose hearing was held after Kobzev and Liptser’s, pleaded guilty to the charges against him. He also reportedly backed the prosecutor’s request for a closed hearing, but the court refused.

On Tuesday, a court in the Siberian city of Tomsk upheld the nine-year prison sentence and a fine of 500,000 rubles (€5,197) handed to Ksenia Fadeyeva, the former head of Navalny’s headquarters in the city, for “participation in an extremist community”.

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