Prosecutors had asked Moscow City Court to brand opposition leader’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and network of regional offices as ‘extremist’ groups.
A Russian court has outlawed the organisations founded by opposition leader Alexey Navalny by labelling them “extremist”, a move criticised by rights groups as part of a campaign to silence President Vladimir Putin’s opponents before parliamentary elections in September.
The Moscow City Court’s ruling on Wednesday, effective immediately, prevents people associated with Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption (FBK) and his network of regional offices across Russia from seeking public office.
The label also means that activists who have worked with the organisations, anyone who donated to them, and even those who simply shared the groups’ materials could be prosecuted and receive lengthy prison terms.
“It was found that these organisations not only disseminated information that incited hatred and enmity against government officials, but also committed extremist actions,” Alexei Zhafyarov, a spokesman for the prosecutors who had filed the motion, said outside the court.
Russia’s list of “extremist organisations” currently consists of more than 30 entities, including the ISIL (ISIS) armed group, al-Qaeda and Jehovah’s Witnesses.