Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s team said it was disbanding its network of regional campaign offices across Russia on Thursday as the opposition figure appeared in a video link from jail, looking gaunt after a hunger strike.
His allies made their announcement in a YouTube video before a court hearing which was due to consider a request from prosecutors to declare the main pillars of Navalny’s political organisation as extremist.
A Moscow court barred Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and his separately run network of regional campaign offices from posting online earlier this week. [L1N2MK0P4]
The FBK was barred on Tuesday from accessing its bank accounts at the request of the prosecutor, and from organising protests and publishing media articles, while the court considers further action.
If the network is declared extremist, authorities will gain the legal power to hand down jail terms to activists and freeze bank accounts.
Navalny, 44, is serving a 2-1/2 year jail sentence for parole violations on an earlier conviction that he says was politically motivated.